Veterans' grave markers vandalized at historic Woodlawn cemetery - WSMV Channel 4

Veterans' grave markers vandalized at historic Woodlawn cemetery

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WOODLAWN, TN (WSMV) -

The final resting place for hundreds of veterans in Middle Tennessee has been desecrated. Someone toppled, crushed and even removed headstones, and families of those veterans are heartbroken.

"What sort of person would do something like this?" said Vietnam War veteran David Dycus.

Dycus has visited the historic McGhee Cemetery each of the last 10 years with his nephew and great-nephew to place flags at veterans' graves.

When he arrived just before Memorial Day this year, he says he couldn't believe his eyes.

Nearly every headstone in the cemetery had been knocked down or broken.

The cemetery has been in the Woodlawn community for hundreds of years, and many of the graves date back to the mid-1800s.

"You can tell some of them are 100 to 150 years old, and that alone is history in itself. But when you start looking at the family history, for this to happen to them," said Dycus' nephew, Jeffery Atkins. "Because some of them are so old, the writing has been worn away. So you just lost some of that historical value."

Police say they don't know any of the families who own the graves, and there isn't a current caretaker. But they suspect the vandals may live close by.

"It is in an obscure location, so I'm led to believe that somebody knew it was there," said Montgomery County sheriff's investigator Bishop Delaney.

Police say the repairs will be costly, and some of the grave markers are simply irreplaceable.

If you know who may own any the graves, if you know who the vandals are or if you want to pitch in with the repairs, you're asked to call the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office.

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