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Vandals deface vets memorial

Graffiti still marred the concrete face of the Kitsap Veterans Memorial on Tuesday, the day after it was discovered by organizers of a Memorial Day event at Silverdale Waterfront Park. County parks officials cleaned up the marks earlier this week and the Sheriff’s office plans additional patrols in the area. - Photo by Kassie Korich
Graffiti still marred the concrete face of the Kitsap Veterans Memorial on Tuesday, the day after it was discovered by organizers of a Memorial Day event at Silverdale Waterfront Park. County parks officials cleaned up the marks earlier this week and the Sheriff’s office plans additional patrols in the area.
— image credit: Photo by Kassie Korich

Just as Leif Bentsen was setting up for Monday’s Memorial Day ceremony at the Kitsap Veterans Memorial at the Silverdale waterfront he noticed something that didn’t belong — bright green graffiti.

Unknown suspects sprayed various graffiti “tags” including marijuana insignia on the back wall of the bench that faces the flag poles.

On the morning that Bentsen, a Vietnam veteran, first discovered the markings, there happened to be a Memorial Day breakfast in the park.

“A couple of veterans wandered over and were quite obviously upset,” Bentsen said. “One vet said, ‘My God, why didn’t (the vandals) read the inscription on the bench.’”

The first word scripted below the bench is “Integrity.”

“We all knew in the back of our minds that something like this might happen,” Bentsen said. “It’s deeply disappointing ... It’s one of those issues where you feel violated.”

After discovering the graffiti he called the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office to report the vandalism. The deputy who responded also was approached by several veterans who were angry that the memorial was defaced, specifically right before Memorial Day.

Bentsen said that although the markings were obvious, they weren’t at the Memorial Day ceremony because the bench filled in with people right away.

“Once the bench was full it wasn’t as noticeable,” he said.

But this wasn’t the first time the site has been vandalized. When the memorial was being erected last fall, unknown suspects “tagged” one of the continents and burned an emblem into the grass, according to Bill Wright, president of the Silverdale Sunrise Rotary which helped to spearhead the project.

“We plan to put in security cameras, but we have to wait until we have funding,” Wright said. “Once we raise enough money or get donations for security cameras, we will.”

The graffiti found Monday morning has since been removed by Kitsap County Facilities, Parks and Recreation workers. Graffiti also was discovered on the back of the new restroom at the Port of Silverdale’s boat launch, which has yet to be opened, and inside of the restrooms in the park.

“The graffiti in the (park) restroom was really vulgar,” said Bev Reeves, county operations and maintenance supervisor.

But that graffiti didn’t need to be removed because the Port of Silverdale has plans to demolish the building in the near future. A contract has already been executed with Tim Ryan Construction to tear down the building and build a new one that will be complete with showers.

As for extra patrols by the Sheriff’s office, spokesman Deputy Scott Wilson says that deputies will try to patrol the area more

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