Vandalism in the Park, with George?
In my hometown is a beautiful public park along the St. Johns River, honoring the
casualties of World War I. Designed by the Olmsted Brothers, the same landscape architects who designed New York City Central Park, our park was dedicated in 1925.
The centerpiece along the river promenade is a water basin topped by a globe with figures of young men, women and children, reaching up out of the swirling chaos of war toward a winged victory figure. The Memorial is consecrated to the young men who died, as today, in a terrible war far from home, but touched, for better or worse, by American national interests. "The War to End All Wars."
Since October of 2012, there have been what can only be called acts of vandalism, although shallow thinkers might find "acceptable" these actions as "anarchist art"(sic). Because leaders of the local art community regularly exhibit weak criteria in choosing "public art," one could be forgiven for the immediate impression that perhaps these "anarchist" actions were sanctioned by the usual official city art organizations.
Apparently not, if the debris from an Easter "action" is an indicator. It was found, wrapped around the feet of the winged victory sculpture, and other parts, scattered in the water basin below. This is not the first time the Memorial has been vandalized in such a manner. Several years ago, racists epithets and vulgarities were painted on the bronze sculpture, and more recently, things hung on the winged victory figure: the desecration and vandalism of a sacred, idealistic public monument.
One searches for a motive in the anger and hatred expressed, here. Are these people protesting war? The sculpture already does that, effectively. Are they ridiculing dead or living soldiers? Do they hate beauty? Do they want to destroy the meditative contemplation of what human price we pay for war?
No, there is no reason behind the behavior. It is sheer evil, and puts the vandal on the same psychological level as warmongers and terrorists. The enduring beauty of the river, the park and the Memorial are the counterpoint to that evil.