Since 2015, an epidemic of desecration has erupted as extremists across Florida are waging war against our history and against the memories of our veterans by using their memorials as canvasses for social protest. Historic City News has learned that In Florida, over 50 known incidents have been identified. It is likely that there are many more that went unreported.
Last Thursday, St Augustine resident Jill Pacetti traveled to Tallahassee where she was one-of-three ladies who had a formal meeting with Secretary of State Laurel Lee to discuss protection for St Augustine’s General William Wing Loring Memorial.
“We went to the Capital to find sponsors for a bill that would protect all veteran memorials in Florida while providing stiffer penalties for those who commit crimes of vandalism against them,” Pacetti reported after her return. “While at the Capital, we walked through three-floors, stopping to knock on senator’s doors. We spoke with a few senators and had lunch with Florida’s former Lt. Governor Jeff Kottkamp.”
In a town where everything seems to be a “political issue”, Pacetti told Historic City News that her support for the proposed Bill does not run along Democrat or Republican Party lines. She says that these acts of vandalism are clearly attacks against Americans who have done something significant for our country.
“Imagine losing a loved one in a war,” Pacetti asked, hypothetically. “Then, after being honored with a memorial, you learn that their memory has been desecrated by vandals. To me, it feels like you’ve lost them all over again.”
None of America’s service members are exempt from this “War on Veterans”. Military servicemen and women since the American Revolution have been dishonored by this particularly repugnant class of criminal. They care nothing about the sacrifice and service consecrated by our public and private memorials.
Florida claims to be a “pro-veteran” state, yet we are lagging our sister states who have enacted laws putting memorials to their veterans “off limits”. The memorials are often characterized as “sitting ducks” and residents like Pacetti, and others, fear that doing nothing normalizes and shows acceptance of this attack against our veterans.
According to a recent Gravis Marketing poll, an overwhelming 88-percent of Floridians support an extra measure of protection for veteran memorials, including enhanced penalties for perpetrators of vandalism against them.
Pacetti says she is asking us to stand up for our veterans and send a message to today’s armed forces that Florida respects their service now — and their memory in the future.