In an unwelcome Memorial Day weekend turn of events, vandals wrecked the gravestones of about a dozen graves, including one of a Revolutionary War veteran, at a small burial ground in Michigan.
The cemetery in Flat Rock, south of Detroit, was named after Michael Vreeland, a Revolutionary War veteran who started the site and was later buried there. Descendants of his who served for the U.S. military were interred there. Some of Vreeland's boys fought in the War of 1812 as well as Indian conflicts, according to a local report. And while Vreeland's body was eventually relocated to another site, the stone that originally marked his grave was one of those that was knocked over and broken.
"It's just a shame," said Carol Klingel, a member of the Flat Rock Historical Society. "It's sad."
No arrests were made and no motive was known, but a policeman said it is not believed that the graves were targeted because they marked veterans.
"It was indiscriminate," said Flat Rock Police Lt. Kevin Murphy. "I don't think it was directed at veterans from what we gather so far."
Flat Rock paid for repairs for several broken stones as part of a 2014 restoration of the graveyard, according to the Flat Rock Historical Society, which lamented the vandalism via its Facebook page, saying, "All of the stones that had been meticulously repaired a few years ago are again in pieces."
Klingel, who pointed out that the timing of the vandalism over the Memorial Day weekend made it even worse, said, "I just don't know if they can be repaired or not," referring to the tombstones.
Ron Klingel, the cemetery's groundskeeper, placed American flags at the gravesites despite the destroyed stones.
"They got home from the Revolutionary War and started this, and they had their own family burial ground," Klingel said.
"There's never been a lock on the gate. You don't lock cemeteries. It's just here for viewings and paying your respect," he added. "It's a terrible shame."
Visitors to the cemetery, which is at the western edge of Huroc Park, spotted the damage and reported it to the police.
Those with information about the incident are asked to contact the Flat Rock Police Department at 734-782-2496. The Flat Rock Historical Society will be accepting donations to help cover the repair costs. Anyone interested in donating can call Leslie at 734-730-3213.