Vandals torched a large bronze and marble tile monument commemorating the late President Ronald Reagan Friday night, erected only a year ago in a Southern California park. The damage tarnished and defaced the bronze statue of the president, and destroyed the tiles, which quoted Reagan’s words recognizing the park itself.
The Temecula, Calif. monument was erected by the nonprofit “Friends of the Ronald Reagan Sports Park” in the same manner in which the park itself was built — through the efforts of private individuals and donations. It took the group’s approximate 75 members nearly a decade to raise funds to install the $100,000 monument, The College Fix reported.
“Whoever did this, they are obviously not in their right minds, and that pun is not intended,” said Perry Peters, the organization’s president.
Reagan praised the park as an example of what individual citizens can accomplish without the need for government in a 1983 speech delivered to the United States Olympic Committee. Reagan said:
The folks in a rather small town, Temecula…got together and built themselves a sports park, held fund-raising barbecues and dinners. And those that didn’t have money, volunteered the time and energy. And now the young people of that community have baseball diamonds for Little League and other sports events, just due to what’s traditional Americanism.
Because of the recognition Reagan bestowed upon the citizens, they returned the favor by naming the park after the former president and erecting the monument that included his words — which the vandalism has now rendered indecipherable.
“I don’t think this was random vandalism by kids,” Peters said, adding a few months ago the Reagan statue had been pelted with raw eggs as well. “It may have been done by kids, but it was motivated by people who don’t like Reagan and don’t like his message.”
The monumentment’s installation didn’t mean the end of the “Friends of the Ronald Reagan Sports Park” — they merely redirected their efforts. The group “sponsors school field trips to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, has hosted a slab of the Berlin Wall, and organizes ‘can-do’ essay contests for local elementary schools,” according to The College Fix.
Added to the list is a new fundraising effort to repair the damage and install security cameras.