Edwardsville and Glen Carbon Police Officers have taken a 34 year old white male subject into custody for this incident. Further information will be released after criminal charges are filed. Hundreds of markers at Sunset Hills and several homes nearby were damaged. pic.twitter.com/jeYTXzSnUU— David Mueth (@DavidMueth) May 26, 2018
In an Illinois cemetery, grounds staff woke up on Saturday morning to find that more than 150 tombstones had been spray painted with the Nazi swastika symbol.
Under any circumstances, this move would have been abhorred. This time, the pain caused was even greater as the cemetery was preparing for Memorial Day to honor veterans who died while serving in the military.
Sunset Hill Cemetery in Glen Carbon, a small suburb of St. Louis is the final abode for more than 1,300 veterans. Every year, the cemetery holds a celebration to remember and honor the veterans. The cemetery groundskeeper confirmed to BuzzFeed News that the symbol had been put up on 150 to 200 headstones as well as a mausoleum and an old office building.
"We pour our heart and soul into that and try to make that day the very best we can," Johnson said. "We’ve spent the last month trying to prepare for Monday."
Grounds crews and volunteers are repairing more than 200 headstones that were vandalized overnight at Sunset Hill Cemetery in Glen Carbon, IL. We’ll have team coverage on @ksdknews news at 5PM. pic.twitter.com/bD5Cuql4Sq— Rachel Menitoff (@RachelMenitoff) May 26, 2018
The entire Saturday, the grounds staff at the cemetery was hard at work, going from one tombstone to another, scrubbing away the hateful symbol. Even though the faint markings of the swastika still remain on tombstones, the symbol has been largely wiped clean and the cemetery, Johnson said, looks “presentable” for Memorial Day celebrations.
Swastikas had also been spray painted on a concrete wall, eight homes, and two cars in a neighboring community in Edwardsville, Edwardsville, police officer Justin Towell informed. A 34-year-old man has been taken into custody by Glen Carbon Police Department and is currently being investigated.
Towell insisted that the incident was an isolated one and not part of a larger movement towards white supremacy and its expressions. He underscored that the community was a diverse one and he did not believe anyone was truly at risk. Since the cemetery under question is a nondenominational one and the headstones seem to have been chosen at random, the crime will not be investigated as a hate crime.
Thumbnail/Banner Credits: Reuters