COBB COUNTY, Georgia – Arson investigators are working alongside park rangers to find out who damaged a monument at Kennesaw Mountain Battlefield National Park. Other sites were also damaged and American flags were burnt.
“We try to learn from our past, in monuments in parks like this, and when people degrade them it hurts the whole country,” said park superintendent Patrick Gamman.
Across Kennesaw Mountain National Park, monuments and monuments tell the story of the historic Battle of Kennesaw Mountain in 1864.
Visitors often bring small American flags and place them throughout the park. Late on the night of July 8, officials said vandals ripped off some of the flags and set them on fire at various sites in the park, including the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
“It hurts all visitors. Whether they recreate or want to experience this important Civil War battle, it takes away their experience. It is also a crime,” said Gamman.
Park rangers found large burn marks on the Illinois monument at Cheatham Hill. The site where thousands of Confederate and Union soldiers were killed or wounded.
“We don’t know what was used to create this, there was also an obscene symbol carved into it. Seeing something like that breaks your heart,” Gamman said.
Visitors said similar destruction was happening in other parts of the country, it was only a matter of time before it happened here.
“It’s a movement, it’s happening in parks around the world,” said Lesly Ramirez.
Jeffrey Snyder has said he doesn’t understand why this is happening here.
“This only speaks of the history of the Civil War,” Snyder said.
National Park Service staff spent the entire weekend cleaning up and trying to repair the damage. It is an expensive and time consuming process.
“We’re lucky this time we were able to fix it, but a lot of times it’s not and it can stay there forever,” Gamman said.
Anyone who has any information, there is a phone line. Call or text 888-653-0009 or online: go.nps.gov/SubmitATip
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