While gridlock is the game in Washington, pilfering and degradation apparently are the pastime of some unpatriotic thugs at war memorials across the country. For me, that is about as low as a nation and its people can go.
This past week in Natick, Mass., veterans and other law-abiding citizens were stunned to discover that a soldier's helmet -- from one who died in battle -- had gone missing from the community's prized Fallen Soldier's Memorial. The helmet was cemented atop a rifle that is part of a display that also includes a piece of the twin towers and two military boots beside a wall of names of service members who died during the battles of World War I, World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.
WBZ-TV reported that this was not the first time the post had been vandalized; the present "We Support Our Troops" sign was chained in after the first one was stolen from the site last year.
Tragically, there have been a rash of war memorial vandalisms and defilements across the U.S. lately.
A Vietnam memorial in Coos Bay, Ore., made up of a concrete cross on a base with an inscription dedicating it "to the men who gave their lives" was bombed in August after an atheist group protested its Christian symbolism.
In the same month, a group of eight ransacked a cemetery in Colorado, damaging more than 150 headstones and shoving a Civil War memorial statue from its pedestal, breaking off its head.
For two centuries, Goodrich Cemetery, in a small township in Michigan, had been a quiet, unharmed resting place for, among others, Civil War and World War I veterans, until this past August, when about 40 vertical headstones were shoved over and damaged.
And last April, a Vietnam War memorial in Aberdeen, S.D., was damaged by a third-time drunken driving offender whose blood alcohol content was five times the legal limit.
That is only a small sample from the past few months of the war memorials broken across our country.
And the U.S. is not alone in its war memorial debauchery.
A month ago in England, a few more yobs -- great British slang for these unpatriotic thugs -- tore off and stole the bronze plates on the Orwell War Memorial, which bore the names of service members who paid the ultimate price in two world wars.
Also, a flower garden in western England that was dedicated to a war hero who died in Afghanistan was flattened and desecrated with empty beer bottles.