Police in Truro, N.S., are investigating after the cenotaph there was vandalized with graffiti recently.

Luke MacDonald, a veteran who lives in nearby Upper Onslow, said he was sitting in the park on Aug. 14 when he discovered the graffiti.

"I grabbed a coffee at Tim's and while I was sitting there, I could hear a drill," MacDonald said.

"I looked over at the cenotaph and there was a guy there with a drill and I thought, 'Well, maybe he's polishing up some brass or something like that.' Then I thought, 'No, that's all granite. There'd be no brass on that.' So I took a closer look."

'This is native land'

What he found was a man holding a drill with a wire brush attached, trying to remove graffiti.

Under the etching on the monument that reads, "Lest We Forget," someone had written, "This is native land."

​Truro police didn't know about the graffiti until CBC News requested information about the incident. The police station is adjacent to the park with the cenotaph.

Truro cenotaph

A man cleans graffiti off the cenotaph in Truro, N.S., on Aug. 14, 2017. (Luke MacDonald)

Cpl. Ed Cormier went out to take a look after hearing of the incident and said there wasn't much evidence left.

"If someone just walked up and looked at it, they wouldn't think anything happened. There may have been a little black mark. It's hard to tell," he said.

"It's possible that there was something there and was cleaned off, but nothing noticeable enough to say for sure that it was."

Cormier said police will check to see whether there is any video surveillance of the area that captures the act of vandalism.

'This was hurtful to me'

MacDonald said as a veteran, the cenotaph is important to him.

"I suffer from PTSD myself, so for me to go there and be by myself and visit the cenotaph, it kind of calms me down," he said. "When I'm not feeling right, I just go there. It's kind of like a safe place for me to go."

Seeing the graffiti bothered MacDonald, who said he felt it targeted veterans.

Truro cenotaph

A man removes the words 'This is native land' from the Truro cenotaph on Aug. 14. (Luke MacDonald)

"This was hurtful to me. I took this personal. Because now I don't feel really safe at that park," he said. "I'm still going to go there, but I'm going to be looking over my shoulder when I do now.

"I don't know if it was done for a prank or if it was done to be mean or if it was done to cause trouble. I don't know," said MacDonald.

"I just wish people would just leave the cenotaphs alone. Those people can't defend the cenotaph because they're dead. It's up to everybody to guard these sacred places."