Vandals have destroyed a Battle Cross memorial commemorating those who died in World War II at Tuscaloosa's Veterans Memorial Park on McFarland Boulevard, a spokesperson for the Tuscaloosa County Park and Recreation Authority told the Thread Wednesday.

Becky Booker, PARA's Public Relations and Marketing Manager, said the damage to the fixture was reported Wednesday morning and the vandalism is believed to have occurred recently.

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The destroyed Battle Cross is one of five in the park that honors U.S. servicemen and women who were killed in different conflicts in American history.

The simple shrines consist of a rifle standing vertically between two combat boots and topped with a soldier's helmet. Booker said in theaters of war, a fallen soldier's dog tags were often hung on this Cross.


Booker, who was on-site at the park when she spoke with the Thread Wednesday afternoon, said this senseless act struck a particular chord with staff members at PARA.

"We just hate to see something like this. Unfortunately, we see some vandalism at all our parks and that's a sad state of affairs, but that it would happen in the Veteran's Memorial Park makes the issue even worse for us," Booker said. "This park recognizes men and women and their families who have given service to their county, some of whom have given their lives to keep us free – if anyone knows anything about it, we would love to get that information."

If there is any silver lining to this incident, it is that the rifles used in the park's Battle Crosses are replicas and the vandals responsible for destroying the shrine did not walk away with a functional firearm.

Booker said PARA was already planning repairs and upgrades in Veteran's Memorial Park, which she called one of the finest of its kind in the state. The destruction of the Battle Cross may simply expedite plans to replace lighting for the various monuments in the park, install new plaques and more.

For updates on this case if and when they become available, either from PARA or from the Tuscaloosa Police Department, stay connected to the Tuscaloosa Thread.

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