Image: War memorial destroyed

What once was a beautiful war memorial and stopping place along the rail trail in Sanford, is now destroyed.

It’s a Memorial Day, unlike any others the town has ever seen.

“Heartbroken, devastated, but we’re going to rebuild it,” said Kim Burgess.

Burgess said Memorial Day 2020 is difficult for more reasons than one. Her son, Marine Lance Cpl. Ryan Burgess was killed in Iraq in 2006 at the age of 21.

After his passing, Burgess said her family knew they had to honor not only his life but all who serve.

“We built this monument for every veteran in our community. My husband and I purposely did not want to build it to honor just our son. That’s not the kind of community we are, it’s not the kind of family we are, and that’s not how our son was,” Burgess said.

When Burgess found out that the flood had washed out the road leading to the memorial, she said she needed to see it for herself.

“I knew it was going to be bad, I guess I just wasn’t prepared for the emotions that set in. So, when I got down there, I got passed the police barricade and I got down to it and I just started walking down, and a gentleman walked out with me. And I think he knew, and he just knew I wasn’t going to do well I think,” Burgess said.

Burgess said she broke down.

“I just sat there and weeped and weeped and weeped. And I thought we have let our veterans down so much. This was such a peaceful place for them and a place of healing for them,” Burgess said.

Although it’s been tough to witness the devastation, Burgess said her plans to rebuild the memorial are already in place.

“I am going to stand up, brush myself off, and we’re going to figure out how to rebuild this,” Burgess said.

A fund has been set up to help rebuild the memorial. If you would like to donate, click here.

Copyright 2020 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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