KUSA - Thieves stole two trees that were set to become a permanent part of the Colorado Freedom Memorial in Aurora.
Once a month a special ceremony is held at the site. On Saturday when people showed up for it, they noticed the trees were missing and a water pump was damaged.
The Colorado Blue Spruce Trees were donated by the owner of Front Range Nursery to become Trees of Honor. For a $10 donation to the memorial anyone could purchase a dog tag to hang on the tree in honor of a fallen hero already listed on the Memorial or another loved one who served.
"The tree had been here at Christmas time and families had come out here and hung Colorado Freedom Memorial Dog Tags with the loved ones named on them, fortunately we had taken those off to save them but those trees were going to planted and become part of an every year ceremony out here," said Rick Crandall, with the Colorado Freedom Memorial Foundation.
Crandall is thankful the physical memorial wasn't damaged. He also understands that the trees can be replaced, but he can't understand who would do such a thing.
"I just can't imagine standing here in the middle of almost 6,000 names of Coloradans who died in action serving our country and steal from them, I can't understand who that person is, who would do that."
The trees were donated by the owner of Front Range Nursery. The owner wanted to honor his brother, who he lost in Vietnam.
"One of those trees was here in honor of a Vietnam veteran whose brother missed him so desperately that he wanted to have a symbol of him out here at the site," said Crandall. "To be able to stand here at this place where families have come and shed tears, where we have fathers that I know of who have lost sons in Iraq and Afghanistan who have told me this has become a second home to them, that this memorial and this place means that much to families and to comrades who served with these guys to be able to desecrate it by stealing from it, I don't even know what to say to that person."
If you would like to make a donation to help replace the trees click here: http://www.cfmf.net/
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