Memorial Dedicated To Oklahoma Veteran Vandalized

Monday, April 20th 2015, 11:22 pm
By: News On 6

A vandalized soldier's memorial is causing renewed heartache for one Claremore family.

It's been nearly three years since Jon Townsend was killed during an ambush while serving in the army in Afghanistan. He was 19 at the time.

9/28/2012 Related Story: Claremore Soldier Killed In Afghanistan Laid To Rest

To remember him, his family had a monument built at Claremore Lake Park, but a few days ago vandals damaged it.

The memorial is a simple one - just a few benches and a flag pole holding the American flag and the POW flag.

Family friends said on a recent visit the flags were gone and the coins people would leave as a gesture of remembrance were missing too.

Initially they thought someone stole the flags, but the cord holding the flags was cut, making them unsecured.

Sometime after the vandalism, park rangers found the flags and took them to keep them from further damage.

Family members and friends, like Emily Vonschriltz said it's heartbreaking to know someone would go to a place meant to honor Townsend and dishonor his memory in such a way.

"I'd like to think it was an accident, we can see it was cut. I don't know how that could have possibly been an accident, but I think it may be easier to believe that than to think someone would show that much disrespect to Jon and other soldiers and other families who have lost them or are currently deployed and have already been fighting for our freedom," Vonschriltz said.

Anyone caught vandalizing the property could be charged with a crime.

The family is responsible for the upkeep of the memorial.

So far someone has already donated a new cord; the family already had extra flags and those are expected to be put up Tuesday.