Only two days after its dedication, the memorial to the victims and survivors of the I-35W Bridge collapse has apparently been defaced. More than two dozen stainless steel letters are missing from the wall of the memorial.
Mayor R.T. Rybak addressed the vandalism in an impromptu press conference late this morning, saying, “When the bridge collapsed and people were suffering, hundred of thousands of Minnesotans surrounded them with compassion. Now one or more individuals, through a single act of remarkable ignorance, are prolonging that suffering. That can change: I call on those responsible to immediately return the stolen letters. It's beyond description how wrong this act is, but it does not change the thousands of acts of compassion and support that this community has shown.”
Family members, survivors and city officials gathered on Aug. 1 to dedicate the memorial, known as the Remembrance Garden, in honor of those affected by the collapse of the I-35W Bridge. The Remembrance Garden includes 13 pillars inscribed with the names of those who died in the collapse. A stone wall lists the names of those who survived, as well as a dedication and inspirational quote, and it is this quote that is now missing letters. Prior to the vandalism, it read ““Our lives are not only defined by what happens, but by how we act in the face of it, not only by what life brings us, but by what we bring to life. Selfless actions and compassion create enduring community out of tragic events.”
The rest of the letters will be removed until new letters can be made. Police are investigating the vandalism, and anyone with information about this act is requested to call the police department’s 1st Precinct office at 673-5701 and ask to speak to the property crimes division.