LETTER: Vandalism at Wailuku Graveyard
When I saw what you had done, my first response was to become angry. How dare you flex your little muscle undercover of darkness in a sacred place! “To hell with you,” I thought, as I felt my anger turn to sorrow. The tears swell up in my eyes. I felt the deep sorrow of disrespect.
The Catholic graveyard in Wailuku is near to where I live. It is occasionally manicured, full of plumeria trees. As my girlfriend and I walk through to find peace and solitude among those who have suffered through this magical journey before us, we come across a marble tombstone fallen face first. The thick, white cross at the top was now at the bottom and broken off. Then I noticed the tombstone next to it, also toppled forward. I said aloud, “This is the act of vandals.”
We drive past this graveyard everyday, 20 mph from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., the dichotomy between their forefathers on one side and the blue clad, early 21st century generation, the grandchildren, great grandchildren, across the street is to me, a remarkable and beautiful thing.
As we drive by, my family and I—we like to point out the two angels carved so empathetically out of pure marble, who kneeled, nearly life-size, in constant prayer for those who rest there. Someone cared enough about those people to create so beautiful a monument, many years ago, and for over 130 years passers-by and visitors have been comforted by their image.
Now, suddenly, we see them before us, laid out in pieces. Angels with broken wings, face down in the clover, victims of terrorists. Terrorism against our elders is a crime against ourselves.
Kicking over, destroying something beautiful because you yourself are not capable of the self-discipline to create something lasting yourself, is the epitome of cowardice.
I know not who is in those graves. I am not from here originally but my deep-felt sadness for them, for their grandchildren, for those of us who are concerned with that which is beyond ourselves, with the continuation of humanity, is sincere.
As we witnessed one toppled tombstone after another, I found myself saying aloud, “I hope there is a hell, because whoever did this will be there.”
My lady walked with me, our heads held low, and said, “They are already there. In a hell of their own making.”
Seeing these angels so thoughtlessly trashed makes me feel embarrassed to be of the same species as you vandals. After the anger and the tears, I feel sorry for you. In fact, I feel sorry for us all, for if we do not respect those who have come before, if we do not honor sacred ground, we cannot hope to go forward.
We would all be grateful if anyone with the skill, with the heart, can help to mend the broken gravestones, if someone can piece together our angels.