Civil War monument in Derby damaged by vandals, weather - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Civil War monument in Derby damaged by vandals, weather

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Vandals and the weather have taken their toll on a Civil War monument in Derby. (WFSB photo) Vandals and the weather have taken their toll on a Civil War monument in Derby. (WFSB photo)

A monument honoring those who fought and died in the Civil War is missing pieces and crumbling in Derby.

Officials said the monument, which has the names of soldiers from nearly 140 years ago etched in bronze, has seen the weather and vandals chip away at it.

"When you were a kid, you said 'we're going to the scout meeting,'" said Jamie Cohen of Derby. "Where should we meet? You'd say 'we'll meet you at the cannons.'"

Cohen said he was born and raised in Derby.

He said the towering monument on the town green has always been a focal point, albeit one that's fallen on hard times.

"I mean who does something like this," he said. "It's not like they took money out of a basket in church, but it's the same kind of thing, maybe it's worse."

Two years ago, Cohen said he noticed that someone set out to damage one of the four bronze plagues honoring the 80-plus men from Derby and Shelton who were killed during the Civil War.

"We see where someone had obviously taken a crow bar and try to pry this monument off the base," he told Eyewitness News.

That's only part of the damage.

He said vandals also targeted the bronze statue on the soldier on top of the monument.

"How did someone body get up there?" Cohen said. "They broke the trigger off his rifle, took the shoulder strap, that was holding the rifle in place. They came to the cannons that are here, broke the strap which held the cannon down."

Father time has also taken its toll on the historical remembrance, particularly the granite base and the bronze itself.

Cohen, who is also an attorney who used to head up the Valley Community Foundation, said he put together a plan to fix it.

"I decided I wanted to do something about this," he said. "It appeared to us nothing had never been done to repair or restore or even take care of it."

He reached out to people he knew and said he already had more than $30,000 in pledges, including $5,000 each from Derby and Shelton.

The total cost is expected to be around $60,000.

It's not the first time Cohen has done something like this.

A few years ago, as head of the Valley Community Foundation, he said he helped restore war monuments in both Derby and Ansonia. Those monuments were also the targets of vandals.

As for the current subject in Derby, Cohen said he's spoken with the city about possibly adding lights to deter future vandals.

He said he knows one thing for certain, it will be repaired.

"This will happen, it's going to happen," Cohen said. "We're going to get this done."

A fund will soon be set up to accept donations. Look for it with the Valley Community Foundation.

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