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Veterans' headstones vandalized in Fredericton cemetery

It’s been more than a week since a number of headstones in the veterans’ section of a Fredericton cemetery were vandalized and still no leads on who was behind it.

More than 20 headstones have been defaced, all within the Royal Canadian Legion’s section of the Forest Hill Cemetery.

The president of the Fredericton Legion, Don Swain, says he’s outraged by the graffiti.

"I know the families are really choked up about it,” Swain said.

“As well, as we are… and it's just, like I say, it's just a disgrace.”

Some of the headstones are least 30 years old.

Terri-Ann McTiernan and her husband Mark spent time Wednesday scrubbing spray paint off her aunt and uncle’s headstone.

"It was like a sucker punch, it's senseless,” said McTiernan when she first saw the headstone.

“I don't even know how to describe it, it's so hurtful.”

McTiernan says she is shocked someone would do something so disrespectful to veterans’ graves.

“But why would somebody would do this? Why do it to the legion and people that fought for our country? It’s even worse,” McTiernan said.

Police say they believe the vandalism occurred over two separate incidents in recent weeks.

"To learn that the headstones of our veterans were defaced is such a shameful act,” said Martin Gaudet, Fredericton’s chief of police.

Gaudet says police are following up on leads for the two files associated with the vandalism.

Those who operate the Forest Hill Cemetery say the graffiti will be removed in the coming days.

They’re trying to determine the best way to deal with it so it doesn’t damage the headstones.

"As the area councillor, I'm very concerned that Forest Hill Cemetery won't have the resources it needs to maintain it's property, if it has to continue paying for these kind of vicious vandalisms,” said Greg Ericson, Ward 8 councillor and Fredericton’s Deputy Mayor.

With Remembrance Day just around the corner Swain hopes the perpetrators will be brought to justice.

"These people just don't realize who gave them their freedom,” Swain said.

The province’s Military Affair’s minister Mary Wilson said in a statement, “I am deeply disappointed by the unnecessary and pointless vandalism to the Forest Hill Cemetery, including damage to several graves belonging to past serving members of Canada's military.” 

For more New Brunswick news visit our dedicated provincial page. Top Stories

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