The eighth of July still felt like the Fourth at the Colorado Freedom Memorial.
American flags lined the grass leading up the glass-paneled memorial as a quartet sang a rendition of “America the Beautiful.” Hundreds came to visit during an open house event at the Colorado Freedom Memorial on Saturday, just days after it was vandalized.
“I was not expecting this. I am totally blown away by today,” said Rick Crandall.
Crandall is the president of the Colorado Freedom Memorial. He said it would take about eight weeks and $50,000 to replace a damaged panel on the memorial.
“They didn’t attack a piece of glass," Crandall said. "They attacked 6,000 names that are on this memorial.”
The Colorado Freedom Memorial honors all Colorado veterans killed in action. Like a veteran returning from battle or a parent who lost a child, the memorial is wounded. Police are still investigating what happened, but Crandall said it appears someone threw a large rock at the glass panel.
“You broke Gold Star parents’ hearts when you attacked a place where their loved ones are honored,” he said.
The memorial may have been wounded, but it’s soon to be restored. Many of the visitors Saturday opened their wallets. Members of the Rocky Mountain Chapter Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association dropped off a $500 check.
“This is that brilliant, necessary reminder. We’re still pretty good people at heart,” he said.
Crandall was hopeful enough money would be raised to replace the damaged panel and install a security system at the memorial.