BENNINGTON, V.T. (NEWS10) — Over a dozen volunteers at the Village Cemetery are beginning to restore 200 graves that were vandalized and damaged just a few weeks ago. Jonah Spivak, Communications Director for the Town of Bennington, said no section of the historic cemetery was left untouched by the vandals.
“That’s the shocking and sad part of the story,” Spivak said. “But, then something else happened which is resolve. There is really resolve within the community that this would not be allowed to stand and an outpouring of people asking what could they do to help.”
Superglue, construction machinery, shovels and brooms were just some of the tools needed to realign graves that have been here since the 1700s; and some gravestones will need more work than others. That’s where the Vermont Old Cemeteries Association comes in. They will be assessing damage and planning restoration set to happen in the Spring.
“An old cemetery’s trouble is, with the marble ones especially, they have a tendency to not do well in Vermont winters. They’re brittle and they fall over easily,” Tom Giffin, President of the Vermont Old Cemeteries Association, said. “What happened here in Bennington is you have these large monuments that are put on pedestals and it doesn’t take much to knock them over.” Spivak hopes the support helps bring more awareness of the importance of preserving historic graves.
“I’m feeling a lot of hopefulness,” Spivak said. “People wanting to help, wanting to do the right thing to fix something that was so terribly wrong.” The investigation into the vandalism is ongoing. Anyone with information is encouraged to call the Bennington Police Department at (802)-442-1030.