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Sunday, July 17, 2005


On May 11, 1996 Value Jet Flight 592 crashed in the Florida Everglades, about 10 miles west of the edge of devlopment for Dade County. There were no survivors. The plane hit nose down at full throttle. The flight crew were tring to make it back to the airport for an emergency landing. The cause of the crash was illegal cargo (oxygen generating canisters) that went off and started a very hot fire.

I am part of a group that volunteers to maintain the monument built on a levee nearest to the crash site. It is more than just a monument, for many families it is also a grave marker. Only some of the families had anything to bury in a cemetary.

About 2 weeks ago some punk kids vandalized the site. It has been there 10 years and this has never happened before. The monument is out in the swamp, and is kind of out of the way.

The vandals hit about 20 of the pillars. There is one pillar for everyone that was on Flight 592. They scrawled crude obsenities. You can see how stupid they were, they spelled value with a F.

They painted nazi shit.

And they hit the pillars facing the nearby highway.

They also put a crude drawing of a plane crashing on one of the pillars, and they vandalized the polished granite stone with the names of everyone on board.

But there were people that were not going to tolerate this crap. Last weekend the group could not do anything, because of the near miss by hurricane Dennis. But this weekend something was done.

Some members of the radio club I am part of, members of Boy Scout Troop 599, and some people from the Fire Department went out to get rid of the paint.

You can see me in the above photo removing the paint from the marker stone. This was very easy to do, the polished granite did not give the paint much to stick to. By the way, I am the one in the upper portion of the photo (in the jeans). The stone was cleaned off in only a few minutes.

The Fire Department supplied a pumper truck full of water, and there were three gas powered pressure cleaners. So the paint on the pillars never had a chance either. This is the pillar that had some obsenities and the drawing of a plane crashing on it, HAD being the key word.

These were the pillars that had the nazi shit and the word "die" painted on them.

And finally, this is the marker stone after we were done with it.

After the paint was taken care of, the entire monument was pressure cleaned. We had the equipment, manpower, and the fire truck - and because more people than expected showed up the work went fast. Weeds were pulled, sand was replaced, and fire ants were killed. After the cleanup, not only was all the paint removed but so was any evidence the monument is 10 years old.

The police say they will step up patrols of the area. My dad works for the power company, he is going to try to help us get FPL to install a floodlight on a nearby utility pole.

And if the site is vandalized again, the group will be back there again. Maybe even a bigger group. This kind of crap is simply not acceptible. When some punk tags your wooden fence that is bad enough, but memorial desecration is much worse.

Check your local paper. The Associated Press picked up the story. Many newspapers will run it.


Anonymous Raine said...

It looks as good as new. Nice work.

Blogger Cam said...

People who do things like that make me sick! I just don't understand why they are lashing out like that ... do they think it makes them cool?

Your account of what happened with the before and after photos is very inspirational. Even when punks go out and do something like this, good people band together to take back the memorial, clean it up, and show the world that the vandals can't get away with it.

And thanks for the encouraging comment on my site. Really made me feel better. =)

Blogger Jane said...

Thoughtless dickheads but it was good you were able to clean it up so quickly.

Blogger dddragon said...

How awful that someone would do this! Some very old cemeteries in our area have had the headstones broken off, and the Nazi sh*t has been painted on private homes of blacks and Jews.

Blogger The Lazy Iguana said...

Value Jet was not exactly a rich man's airline. As the name suggests, it was a no-frills airline with only one class - coach.

Many of the people on the plane were black, and I am positive those families were extra hurt by the hate symbols. But no matter what your ethnic background, the vandalism was not something you wanted to hear about.

The group I am part of, and Boy Scout Troop 599, will continue to maintain the site as we have been doing for a number of years now.

Normally, all we do is cut some grass, pull weeds, sweep, and clean up any litter we can find (usually not very much).

But of course, if the vandals hit again the fire truck will return, along with the pressure cleaners and people. People go there often, as I said for many it IS a gravesite.

And for the families that are out of town, hopefully their local paper picked up the Associated Press story and they know the site is clean.

Blogger AP3 said...

Hey, good for you for doing the clean-up. Nice work.

Blogger Saur♥Kraut said...

Good job. I disagree with someone who said they were 'thoughtless' (although I'm sure that this wasn't meant badly). It was just a mistaken choice of a word that really weakens the malice these vicious people had to have to do something so horrible.

If they're ever caught, the judge ought to pass a sentence that allows people to come from everywhere to spraypaint their homes, their clothes, and their cars with a few choice, nasty words.

Blogger actonbell said...

Nice Work!
Hmm, maybe someone could set up a camera somewhere? Might keep vandals away. I can't imagine what kind of person would violate such an emotionally important monument. Anyway, it's wonderful that there are so many people there to help maintain the monument.

Blogger The Lazy Iguana said...

People from the group are going to try to get the power company to set up a floodlight. This will deter vandals, and allow cops to see activity at the monument at night.

If FPL can not put up a light as a public service, I am going to get people to e-mail Mayor Alvarez to have the County tell FPL to put a light on the streetlight tab. One more light will not break the County's budget.

Blogger Jane said...

That was me Saurkraut, I didn't mean to weaken my disgust at them by using thoughtless, perhaps that's a transatlantic twist to the English language.

I suppose what I mean is that they ever never thought for a second about the hurt they would cause the relatives of the victims or what the site means to people like The Lazy Iguana, who tend it. Which is deeply disturbing in itself as it shows a total lack of empathy with your fellow person. It's the sort of thing that stupid ignorant teenagers do to get a stiffy cos they can't get girls I bet they are at home right now jerking off to the news programmes reporting their senseless act of vandalism.

Totally with you on then having their own cars and clothes trashed if they get caught. In fact they should have their drivers licenses removed that will hurt them as well.

Blogger Tom & Icy said...

You can have the picture on the Devil's site. We just made it to irritate Little Bar of Soap who likes Bush. The original photo is on her site. I just erased a few things and added text and the news picture of Bush. As a matter of fact, you can post that on the site you mentioned and sell it if you want.
The only thing we would like to know is how do you get the mailto protocol to work with Firefox browser, like on the heading of this post. When I click on it, it doesn't take me to my mail like ie does.
And good work on the tombstones. I used to do that kind of work. You're a good guy.

Blogger DazzlinDino said...

Well done my friend, just for that i will link you up. Punks is too loose a term for these morons, wouldn't ya liked to have been walkin by just when......

Blogger BarbaraFromCalifornia said...

Looks like a great job was done it making it look brand new once again.


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