In Naperville, Ill., Trying to Prevent Crime at a 9/11 Memorial

Vandalism attacks prompt use of CCTV to monitor memorial for terrorist attack victims


Jan. 3--The Sept. 11 memorial in downtown Naperville has been vandalized so many times that the city has installed a security camera at the site.

Money from a memorial maintenance fund was used to buy the camera and recording equipment for $12,000, said Craig Bloomquist, assistant manager of special projects for the city.

The memorial honors victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, including Navy Cmdr. Dan Shanower, 40, a Naperville native who died at the Pentagon.

Bloomquist said the memorial has been vandalized five times since its Sept. 11, 2004, unveiling. Four times, people removed pieces of the Pentagon from the memorial, and most recently, in August, someone sprayed black paint on it.

Bloomquist said the spray paint appeared to be symbols and initials and did not appear to convey a political message. Still, the number of acts of vandalism warranted a response, he said.

More than 400 individuals and businesses donated $150,000 to pay for the memorial, which is on the Riverwalk near City Hall. Money not used in the construction was set aside in a maintenance fund.

The memorial includes a piece of the World Trade Center, an eternal flame and a wall of sculpted faces representing people who died in the attack.

Area veterans are outraged by the defacement, said Mike Barbour, 60, a Vietnam War veteran and commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Judd Kendall Post 3873 in Naperville.

"These guys are scum of the earth. I don't care if they are young kids or it's something like these [people] that are out anti-war protesting," said Barbour. "It is a despicable act is what it is."

jkimberly@tribune.com

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