Vandals attack 9/11 memorial in Christchurch NZ

Charlie Mitchell

Vandalism of Christchurch monument commemorating service men and women killed in action is “total disrespect”, a firefighter says.

On Thursday, a spraycan was used to scrawl in red paint across the memorial in Firefighters Park, which is dedicated to “all firefighters worldwide”.

The artwork in the central city’s Madras St acknowledges the 343 firefighters who died during the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York.

Christchurch central station officer Kelvin Hampton with the firefighters' memorial, which has been vandalised. Photo   Dean Kozanic

Christchurch central station officer Kelvin Hampton with the firefighters’ memorial, which has been vandalised. Photo
Dean Kozanic

It was constructed in 2002 with metal girders from the World Trade Center site, which were gifted to Christchurch by New York City.

Christchurch central firefighter Murray Jamieson would like to see the perpetrators clean up the mess themselves.

“It’s a total disrespect of firemen right throughout the world. The type of person who has done it obviously has no respect for anything or anyone,” he said.

“If they were to be in an accident or a fire call, we would do our upmost to save their lives and stop any damage . . . but they have shown no thought or respect to the people who would be their benefactors.”

In New Brighton, a piece of historic vandalism has provoked similar offence.

A cenotaph commemorating New Zealand soldiers may have to be covered during centenary commemorations because of graffiti sprayed on the monument three years ago.

Graffiti on the Returned and Service Association’s (RSA) 90-year-old cenotaph cannot be removed due to the porous nature of the rock used to build the monument.

RSA national president BJ Clark said the damage was painful for veterans and their families.

“It does anger me . . . it’s terribly frustrating, and it hurts the veterans and families of veterans who look at the memorial to see something put up to honour people has been desecrated,” he said.

“I live in the hope that whoever did it, whenever they see it as they get a little more mature, feels a pang of guilt about what they’ve done.”

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