Two juveniles have been arrested after the Iwo Jima Memorial in Fall River, Massachusetts was vandalized. Facing charges of vandalizing a war/veteran’s memorial, the two are alleged to have defaced the monument with graffiti, spraying not only phallic images on it, but also various symbols.
The Iwo Jima Memorial that was vandalized in Veteran’s Memorial Bicentennial Park is an exact replica of the US Marine Corps War Memorial, which features six Marines raising the American flag atop Mount Suribachi in 1945. The image was captured by Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal and went on to receive the Pulitzer Prize for Photography.
The original monument is located at the entrance of Arlington National Cemetery, having been unveiled in 1954.
Fall River police have identified and charged two individuals responsible for vandalizing the Iwo Jima War Memorial.https://t.co/tGgqmreSos
— NBC 10 WJAR (@NBC10) February 8, 2024
According to the Fall River Police Department, the Iwo Jima Memorial was vandalized on January 27, 2024, with photos showing yellow graffiti covering the statue. Other monuments in Veteran’s Memorial Bicentennial Park were also vandalized. Surveillance footage shows four individuals were involved, arriving in the park just before 10:00 PM on the night the crime was committed.
On February 8, it was announced that two 17-year-old males had been arrested and charged with vandalizing a war/veteran’s memorial, with two other suspects still unknown and outstanding. The accused cannot be identified, as they are minors.
Speaking with The Herald News, Bruce Aldrich, commandant of the local US Marine Corps League and one of the veterans tasked with maintaining the Iwo Jima Memorial, revealed the vandalism has more than current and former service members up in arms. “Civilians have been sending me all kinds of notes, and on Facebook,” he said. “They think it’s just disgusting, and it is.”
Aldrich says he’s currently in contact with the company that’s contracted to clean the memorial annually, in the hopes they’ll be able to repair the damage.
The Iwo Jima Memorial in Veteran’s Memorial Bicentennial Park was erected in honor of the Marines who have fought and died for the United States since 1775.
This isn’t the first time the monument has been vandalized; in 2016 and ’17, it was the target of vandals. In the first instance, an area housing a Purple Heart and a vial of sand from the beaches of Iwo Jima was smashed. In the 2017 incident, the statue was sprayed with the contents of a fire extinguisher.