Gettysburg vandalism has many up in arms

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The first signs of the destruction wrought by vandals came into view just after dawn. Almost simultaneously, several calls came into the National Park Service office at Gettysburg National Military Park.

That was 12 days ago and the park service since has calculated the cost to repair and restore the monuments at just over $61,000. It was the worst case of vandalism at the park in 93 years.

A coalition of Gettysburg-area groups and individuals has put up a reward totaling $36,000 for the arrest of the perpetrators. Monuments to the 4th New York Independent Battery and 11th Massachusetts and 114th Pennsylvania regiments were damaged.

"It infuriates me, it absolutely infuriates me, and I think I speak for just about everybody," said Charles Kuhn, junior vice-commander-in-chief of the Sons of Union Veterans, a descendant of Civil War veterans who grew up in Gettysburg and lives in nearby East Berlin. "The first feeling I had was a sick feeling. Then all of a sudden that sick feeling becomes anger."

The sense of outrage over the deliberate desecration of monuments has deep roots. The last time there was such widespread damage was 1913, when nine Gettysburg monuments were vandalized. At the time, R.B. Reath closed a letter to the park's superintendent with the following:

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