DURHAM — Vandals are not going to ruin Memorial Day plans in Durham.
In January, police say someone used a front-end loader to mow down the living memorial to Vietnam veterans, destroying the $70,000 monument.
For almost ten years, the living memorial was a symbol of pride and courage for local vets. Police still have no leads on who vandalized the monument, but a $1,700 reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest.
Durham Vietnam veterans hoped to have their monument rebuilt by Memorial Day. They will not make that goal, but Sunday night, in a candlelight service, they dedicated a temporary memorial that will stand until the original is replaced.
David Watson, a local Vietnam veteran who helped design the memorial, thinks that it is as much for the families of Vietnam soldiers as for the veterans themselves.
"I think the main thing for us is the families of the vets," says Watson.
"This is a place for solitude and an emotional outlet," he continues. "For me, (our families were) the backbone for when were were in Vietnam. We have received several letters from family members who miss coming out here, and some have a great deal of trouble coming out here since it has been destroyed."