Volunteer says someone threw a war memorial in Malden Park into a nearby pond
Memorial commemorating Freemasons who were killed in war found in a nearby pond
When he was told that the Masonic Memorial at Malden Park was removed and found in a pond, Gene Lotz was very upset.
"Lest we forget; the people who did that have forgotten what a war memorial is about," said Lotz, a member of the Masonic Fraternity and the chairperson of the effort to build the memorial. "The effort to tear that off its base, drag it down a hill and dump it in a pond took a lot of energy."
"And for what? For nothing."
Lotz received an email and a phone call from a friend on Saturday about the incident. Lotz and his friend initially tried to pull the memorial out of the pond, but they found it too heavy. Luckily for them, someone else was nearby.
"A city worker happened to be there," he said. "The next day, when we went, it was taken out of the water and put somewhere."
Lotz recently published a book containing all the names of the more than 1,300 soldiers from Windsor-Essex County who were killed in times of war. The memorial at Malden Park only contained the names of those soldiers who were Freemasons.
The memorial was refurbished two months ago, according to Lotz. He said the memorial has undergone wear and tear and minor vandalism since its unveiling by the City of Windsor on Nov. 11, 2000.
Jason Moore, senior manager of communications and customer service with the City of Windsor, said he will reach out to parks and recreation staff so they can look into the incident.
Removal of memorial 'broke my heart'
Lotz, who believes vandalism is a problem in every park in Windsor, said this incident "broke my heart."
"I have a very soft spot in my heart for the veterans who gave their lives defending our country," Lotz said. "To see their memory [forgotten], the degree of…I can't even come up with words for it. It just really hurt."
Although he does not know who removed the memorial, Lotz wants them to know that what they did makes no sense to "prove that you're a tough guy."
"I would hope that they appreciate the cost that those individuals gave up for our future, our security and our communities," he said.
With files from Chris Ensing