By Kristina Rex

FALL RIVER (CBS) – Just two weeks after nearly 60 headstones were smeared with anti-Semitic slurs, another memorial has been vandalized in Fall River.

A memorial to honor fallen soldiers from the city at North Park had three trees – meant to represent the three soldiers honored – ripped apart. Now, just one-foot high stumps lay in the ground.

Police and neighbors believe the broken trees are likely the work of teenagers, but when your family member’s name is etched on the memorial, this vandalism feels personal.

Trees ripped out of the ground at Fall River memorial for fallen soldiers (WBZ-TV)

“Just angry” was JoAnn Mello’s reaction. Her son Scott is honored on the memorial, after losing his life to an IED in Afghanistan in 2010. “It just makes no sense why someone would do something like that,” she said.

If it is the work of some teenage punks, Mello says she hopes they look back one day and regret the damage they did. “I’d like to think that 10 years from now they are going to look back…and say ‘wow I did a really bad thing. Something that I feel really bad about.’”

If police discover the work was the intentional act of an adult however, Mello said that adult “should be absolutely ashamed of themselves.”

The trees at the park were planted only a year ago. Henry Souza walks by them every day with his dog. “It’s just heartbreaking really to see stuff like this,” he said. “They just planted these. They were going really good and then all of a sudden boom, they’re down.”

Fall River Memorial for War on Terror (WBZ-TV)

Every Memorial Day, family, friends, and strangers gather to honor the three men on the memorial: Pvt. Michael Bouthot, Sgt. Robert Barrett, and Spc. Scott Andrews.

JoAnn Mello plans to replant the three trees and to add a fourth for Sgt. Eric Emond, who died in the Fall. “That’s what it’s all about,” Mello said. “It’s about [the fallen], you know? And this act of violence is not going to stand in the way of that.”

Kristina Rex


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