AUBURN (CBS13) — The Armed Forces Pavilion and Military Garden in Auburn, which is dedicated to military families and veterans, was vandalized over the weekend.
Garden caretakers were shocked at what they saw Monday morning: Statues were destroyed, signs were stolen and garbage was left behind.
The Auburn community comes to the garden to reflect on their service or simply to pray and find peace, but that was stripped for military families, including the Moores whose son is a member of the United States Army.
"He's in Germany. He'll be heading home for Christmas. We pick him up from the airport on Saturday. I never thought I'd be a military mom, but I am and I'm very proud of that," Addie Moore said.
Addie said her son's inspiration for joining up is, in part, the Armed Forces Pavilion and Military Garden in Auburn.
"For me, it's just a special place because I think he made the decision to join partly because I was coming here and but also because his grandfather was in the Army," she said.
The garden was, in part, created by the Forgotten Soldier program.
"It's heartbreaking to see damage," said Tom More, Addies's husband and board member for the Forgotten Soldier program.
Signs were stolen that marked the distance between Auburn and military battlegrounds, and a full-sized angel was destroyed.
"She was just standing right here and people would come up and pray over her," Addie said.
"People see her as a protector of this garden. Just to replace that statue is going to be about $1,000," Tom said.
But the financial damage isn't nearly as impactful as the emotional damage.
"This garden is a special gem in Auburn. Having vandalism like this, I would want to close it off but it sort of defeats the whole purpose," Addie said.
So who did it and why? They may never know.
"We filed a report but because there's not security footage and no one comes through as a witness, it's hard to pin down who did what. At this point, we just move forward, we can't dwell on the past," Tom said.
CBS13 did reach out to the Auburn Police Department for any leads on potential suspects and what the punishment for something like this could be. We did not immediately hear back.
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