A West Richland veterans memorial has been vandalized for the second time this year.
Combat Veterans International Chapter 3 raised $11,000 to repair the memorial after it was damaged in February. But it was found damaged again Tuesday evening, less than two weeks after it was rededicated in a July 4 ceremony.
The Flat Top Park memorial, which depicts an M-16 rifle inverted and placed into the ground by its bayonet, with a World War II helmet attached to the top, was restored to its original stature after the rifle was ripped from the monument's granite base. It was later found in the weeds behind the Benton County Mosquito Control Office in West Richland.
On Tuesday, a member of the veterans group found the memorial's bronze boots torn out of the ground, with grout that had been placed inside the boots to make them more secure wiped on the rifle and a plaque, said Eugene Lamm with Combat Veterans.
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The veterans have already been looking at getting solid brass boots installed, but that would cost $8,500. Lamm said they will keep the boots away from the memorial until they can afford the solid brass boots.