3 bronze veteran plaques stolen from Land Between the Lakes cemetery


LAND BETWEEN THE LAKES, KY — A final resting place for our nation’s heroes has been vandalized.

Three bronze name plaques of veterans have been stolen from a cemetery at Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area.

Investigators believe thieves have been stealing the plaques to sell as scrap metal.

Land Between the Lakes spokesman Chris Joyner said the thefts not only dishonor the veterans, but also destroy a part of local history.

“You can actually see the scratch marks right there where they took some type of pry bar, screwdriver and they wedged up under there and popped it up.” Joyner said.

Joyner said investigating the case is their No. 1 priority.

“It’s very disgusting to me,” Joyner said. “It’s gotten a lot of our staff upset.”

Joyner said that that doesn’t represent the culture in western Kentucky, and the value of these bronze plaques is minuscule compared to the damage and hurt the families are feeling.

“They’ve taken not just the cemetery markers that are that link to the past, but they’ve taken away from the community by doing this,” Joyner said.

Ted Birdsong was also affected by vandalism three years ago. His uncle, Ira Littlejohn, once had a bronze veteran plaque. The family replaced it with a granite one, in hopes that no one would be able to take away what they have left of their loved ones.

Birdsong is a caretaker at the cemetery, where most of his family is buried. He reported the missing bronze plaque immediately.

“My mother is down there, and she was probably my best friend ever, and I miss her dearly,” Birdsong said. 

Birdsong said whoever stole the plaques had evil intentions.

“This is their one connection to their past, and these graves mean a lot to them,” Joyner said.

The U.S. Forest Service said those responsible could face fines, felony charges, and years in federal prison.

Call 877-861-2457 and select option No. 1 if you have information regarding the thefts.

For more on this story and others, follow Pauline Fitzgerald on Facebook or Twitter.

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