These remarks are addressed to the individuals who vandalized the city's Veterans Memorial before Memorial Day.

I don't know who you are nor do I know your motivation for your misguided actions in trying to damage something that many people worked hard to bring into existence and who contributed to fund it.

No matter what your intentions, I believe the words of our City Councilmen were not strong enough for you or your actions. Monuments such as this one are not there to glorify war or even the warriors; they are there to remind us of the duty to serve and the duty to sacrifice that are the price of freedom and democracy.

I'm old enough to remember much about World War II. Probably no family in this country was untouched by the war. Husbands, brothers and sons left home to serve. Those who remained behind worked in the defense plants.

There were flags in windows -- red and white with a blue star and the phrase "We have a Boy in the Service." And we saw too many of them replaced in our neighborhoods with a Gold Star flag, meaning their boys would never come home.

We celebrated V-E and V-J days as the war wound down, and we prayed for everlasting peace. Peace didn't last long. But you need to understand this -- no one is happy about war regardless of justification.

War memorials glorify peace, love and understanding. They serve to prod consciences and prick egos by reminding of the price of war.

Hate symbols and vulgarities and whatever else you concoct cannot do what a single flag at half-mast, a gold star or a solitary bugler playing taps can do -- bring an emotional response for reflection and contemplation, and a desire for "never again."

Joseph Pepoy, Aurora