Bridge Collapse Memorial Vandalized

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Just two days after its dedication, someone or some persons have defaced a memorial built to honor those affected by the 35W bridge collapse in Minneapolis.

About two dozen of the steel letters, which spelled out a message of dedication, were ripped off of a memorial wall.

The remaining letters have been removed for the time being. A contractor at the scene said that the estimated value of the defaced property is about $4,000.

Julie Graves, a survivor of the bridge collapse, is trying not to take the vandalism personally.

“I wake up every day, just so grateful for my life, and having a beautiful daughter and having a body that’s almost completely functional again,” she said.

She said those at the Waite House Community Center have been through a lot — loss, surgeries and pain. It takes a little more than this to bring down her survivor spirit, Graves said.

“I really believe that whoever did this wasn’t intentionally trying to hurt any of us,” she said. “I don’t take it personally, it’s just very unfortunate that it happened.”

Graves said this will not prolong what’s already been years of suffering. She said she and her students will still go visit the wall and see it as a symbol of the strong Minnesota community.

“This is an act of stupidity but it’s an aberration from who and what we really are,” she said. “We know what we’re made up of, and this isn’t it.”

The garden is located on West River Parkway right across from Gold Medal Park, overlooking the Mississippi.

The entire memorial is 81-feet long to coincide with the date of the collapse: Aug. 1.

Each of the 13 pillars is inscribed with the names of the people who died in the bridge collapse.

Along with their names, the families wrote a special message about their loved one.

Before the vandalism, the wall’s message read, “Our lives are not only defined by what happens, but by how he act in the fact of it, not only by what life brings us, but by what we bring to life. Selfless actions and compassion create enduring community out of tragic events.”

In a statement released Wednesday afternoon, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak urged the person or people responsible for the vandalism to return the stolen letters.

“When the bridge collapsed and people were suffering, hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans surrounded them with compassion. Now one or more individuals, through a single act of remarkable ignorance, are prolonging that suffering,” Rybak said in the statement. “That can change. I call on those responsible to immediately return the stolen letters. It’s beyond description how wrong this act is, but it does not change the thousands of acts of compassion and support that this community has shown.”

Authorities said it will be about two weeks before the new letters are in place. Police do not have any leads in this case.

Mayor Rybak said they’re looking into added security for the memorial — and a new way to keep the letters more intact.

Anyone with information on this case is asked to call police at (612) 673-5701 and ask for the property crimes division.

  • Kathy

    There will come a day, when they will face their God and have to answer for their actions.

    • @Kathy

      “their God” ?
      how many we got out there Kathy?

      • Huxley

        Are you kidding? As many as there have been civilizations. There is a lot more out there than just the christian god, aka the latest incarnation. Maybe one day people will study christian mythology just like we study Greek mythology. It wasn’t always called Greek “mythology”, there is a good starting point for you.

        • Phid

          Are you kidding? Maybe one day people will study atheist mythology like we study Greek mythology, and we will treat atheism as it is – a religion which relies on “faith”.

          • meow


            LMAO … Atheists don’t pray to a God. They rely on science that can prove things. They simply dropped the “Blind Faith” and aren’t falling for the Pathological LIES that the Christian’s use to brainwash people. Nice try Phid.

            • Rob W

              meow – you do realize the statement “you can prove everything by science” can’t be proven by science? You have to accept that on blind faith?

              • meow

                Rob W

                Fully Agreed and I’m glad you pointed that out. Science can’t prove EVERYTHING but I don’t need the “God Excuse” to fill in the gaps either of what I can’t explain. People have different rationalizations of reality to suit them based on where they are in their evolutionary path of existance… or so IMO.

                I personally do believe in devine mystery though and the soul and chakra system. I’m not saying I’m an Atheist… even though I do study their points of view and find critical thinking to be better then just swallowing the imagination of a primitive ancient man with no science, psychology or medical advancements we now have in todays modern society.

            • See BS

              Bow to your Pagan Green God or the world will end from Global Warming.

              Recycle symbols are religious too, and throwing an empty from your car is blasphemy, as speaking against gay activism.

              • Liberal

                I would rather embrace anything than a Republican.

                • See BS

                  Doesn’t even make any sense

              • Sean

                Bow to your god of small minded hate.

                • See BS

                  Oprah’s audience looks the same as people watching a baptist minister healing someone.

                  Maybe if I should watch Network TV.

        • Paul

          If science believes in “The Big Bang” which created the universe out of nothingness….What caused the big bang…could it be God’s word in action?

          • Iconoclast


            If you actually read what “The Big Bang” was, its cause is inherent in its definition.

      • Pocho Basura

        there is just the one!
        he is running for re election……

        • JamesT

          Your an IDIOT!!!

          • JamesTK

            Your an IDIOT!!!

      • Craig

        C, mon stay on topic sheesh!!

    • meow

      Kathy, WOW that is one of the victimizing control statements that the Christians use on people to invoke a sense of false fears… stems from the “Reward and Punishment” belief system. You might subscribe to that, but many people (and yes still very kind, compassionat and moral) don’t fully fall for or agree with in this modern age.

      • Phid

        Meow, please tell me how “modern” people – those same ones who threaten us with end of the world scenarios (melting ice caps, increased natural disasters, decimated countries, etc.) – are free from such a “Reward and Punishment” mentality. Oh, and don’t forget how these same liberals use it as a means of increasing taxes on business or doing “cap and trade” as a means of “atonement” for past “eco-sins”.

        • meow


          Your religious brainwashing can be deprogrammed. Just say’n.

          • Jason Lee

            So can your amoral sheep behavior. Go read internet memes and vote blue because all your weak friends do it.

            • meow

              Um…. harsh and really makes no sense. I’ll laugh it off.

              • mikey

                The truth can be a harsh mistress meow.

        • Jason Lee

          Thank you. I’m so tired of these intolerant morons not being able to say “I don’t agree that the perps will face justice after death” if they have to say anything at all. Instead they have to promote their own religion of science. Which none of them seem to understand is both a human-made explanation of mysterious phenomena, and one that is also based on a whole lot of faith.

          • Eric

            By your logic this applies just as much to 80% of Christian religions that don’t believe in earthly works.

            That is to say, Christian religions that believe you’re instantly absolved if you believe Christ was our savior. Therefore nothing you do here matters. Therefore there’s no consequences

            • frozenrunner

              Absolsolution for belief is interesting as if you truly believed you wouldn’t be doing what you are doing. IF you say you are going to believe later, it would be an insincere belief. Then there are the Jason Lee’s of the world that come across as judgemental of others which is actually unchridtian.

        • Are you people for real????

          Are you people for real???? This article isn’t even about whose god is whose and what people believe in it is about some idiot or idiots doing damage to something that doesn’t belong to them. The ones responsible should be punished to the full extent of the law as well as meet each family that lost someone in this tragedy and here how it has affected their lives.

          • meow


            FULLY AGREED !!! … finally a voice of logical reason based on reality, not after death garbage blah blah blah

            • weird argument

              haha but you were one of the ones talking off-subject in your earlier mosts,meow.

          • M

            you ain’t just whistlin dixie!

    • Phid

      Hey Woodsman, why do you say things like that? If you do not want to believe in God then that is up to you, but please do not presume that you are the holder of objective truth in this matter.

      • markH


        “but please do not presume that you are the holder of objective truth in this matter.”

        He may not be the holder of “objective truth”, but he certainly has a greater grasp on objective reality. Peace.

      • Woodsman

        Objective truth? I can say with all certainty that after I die I’m pretty much home free as far as getting punished for deeds committed on the Earthly Plane.

      • Eric

        If you or your church proselytize then you are doing the same, presuming to have the absolute truth.

    • Brian Pelletier

      If you go to hell and Satan punishes you, does that mean the devil is actually working for god as his department of corrections?

      • meow

        How about “God is everything” and “God is Love/Good” but if “God is everything” then God is just the opposite of Evil that is on the same pole of existance.

        People live in a delusional state of seperation and duality? The religious faiths are FULL of contradictions of complete non-sense.

        Brian, love the comment. Fun to ponder.

      • Woodsman

        There is no such being as “satan.”

        Release yourself from the fear and guilt and just enjoy life.

  • Dennis from Elk River

    I would assume both the vandals as well as their parents must be extremely proud of their accomplishment.! It’s time we start locating these individuals and holding them accountable for their deeds. Perhaps requiring they spend several hours at the memorial with placards stating why the are there and being required to explain their actions and reasons to all memorial visitors during that period.
    Almost makes one ashamed to be a Minnesota resident.

  • RE


  • why?

    somewhat OT but can anyone tell me why we spend so much on these type of things in un-protected areas in todays world? I understand the wanting to – but holy cow, these things are always getting trashed. Maybe a load of cameras above them or in a secure area but out there where all the rotten SOB’s today have a shot at this seems crazy. Hey – it’s only money now right. ;(

    • llp

      because this is America and we have the freedom to remember and honor those that lost their lives but not the freedom to harm or disrespect others. Respect others and they respect you disrespect others and you disrespect yourself..

      • regarding respect

        We do but we also need to use our brains in the way we do so. This was almost a given in this day and age in this country.
        Sad-sick-wrong-illegal and absolutely immoral.
        That said – it was bound to occur and will again unless they find a way to protect it.
        Hate to over-simplfy what you said about respect but “it ain’t here in America no more”. Just take a look at the DC crowd and the near shutdown..better yet look at MN’s actual one.
        THERE IS NO RESPECT AT THE TOP….hard to imagine it to be better at the very bottom.
        sick friggen country we created

  • Aaron

    To think that these people have just offended all of these 13 families and everyone who designed and built this memorial hurts me. Whether they took the steel to get money, did so to make a statement of disapproval, or what ever their reason I hope that the authorities make them publically apologize to all they have hurt and have them write and personally deliver their statement of apology to all of the families whose loved ones died in the event. To the offenders, you have wronged many and you need to apologize for your actions and through community service eran back all the money that it will cost to repair this memorial.

  • 35W Bridge Collapse Memorial Vandalized « CBS Minnesota

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  • michael jackson

    You know what kind of people did this.

    • Warren Peace

      Da Schwarzes!

      • Max

        Are you being sarcastic or did you mean this??

    • KDP


  • Aaron

    Just another example of wasteful government spending. Don’t waste tax payer money on hunting down minor vandalism. There shouldn’t have been a memorial in the first place. Let’s trim things back to where they should be, privatize the bridge, let the market handle maintenance/repairs, and lower taxes on everyone.

    • Warren Peace

      You absolute moron.

      No taxpayer dollars were used for the memorial.

    • Ali

      I am hardcore GOP, tea bagger etc. and also find your comments completly stupid. Please put brain in gear before engaging fingers to type…

      • Iconoclast

        He was being sarcastic you twit. It’s no surprise that you support the t-baggers. It’s essentially republicanism for Walmart shopping idiots. Where were you when Regan and Bush the first skyrocketed the debt? Did you support Clinton when he worked on getting taxes raised (To levels less than the First six years of the Regan years). Or is it that you hate the idea of a Black president so much that you have somehow convinced yourself that he alone has spent all this money and ruined the economy? TOOL!

        • Ali

          You twit, i was being sarcastic. You are such a moron. I am like you and vote just like you. Why do you hate this Black president? TOOL! FOOL! and you must be a STOOL!

        • Sconoclast

          George Soros loves you!

  • Kally

    This was not just kids…. I think someone has an agenda…. maybe someone did not get all the lawsuit $$$ they thought they should…

    • Warren Peace


      Dumbest post of the day award right here, Kally. Yikes…

  • Jeff

    Good grief why would anyone do this????

    Aaron…I dare you to go to D.C. and say that “there shouldn’t haven’t been a memorial in the first place”. Yes these people didn’t die in a war or become a U.S. president, but they are no longer with us. Why not remember the 13 people whose lives were abruptly ended?

  • me

    Do you think they stole the letters that spell their name?

  • The Architect

    Hey, I thought you took the day off today or something. ;)

    • meow


      • The Architect


        What’s your sign?

        Come here often?

        • Iconoclast

          God, you’re even insufferable when you’re trying to be charming -_-

          • Iconoclast

            Why am I such a moron? People like you mke me look like such a complete fool. stop it.

            • Iconoclast

              Ah, now we have gotten down to your true childish nature. The coolest part is how you can tell the difference by the quality and intelligence of the writing. (You also misspelled “make”). Good luck sir.

              • Iconoclast

                My partner Jimmy and I are upset by you mocking me! I demand it shhhhtop! :)

              • Beer Guzzling Redneck


                Looks like you got a fan club too. I guess that’s what you get for being “insufferable.”


  • meow

    “Mama, why are there snowflakes?” and I said, “Crystal, because of you…”


  • Hanging them would be too good.

    I too question the wisdom of all the memorials we erect. Still, nobody has a right to do anything but observe the memorial and most certainly not to desecrate it.

    The person(s) who did this deserve(s) exceptionally severe and uncomfortable punishment and should be forced to clean sewers or packing plants or the like for $1.00/hour until full restitution is made.

  • The Grynch

    Yea because that hail that we had last night was ridiculous.

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  • Alvin Marcott

    kids will be kids. let’s not be to harsh :-)

  • shawn

    you got drunken frat row on one side of the river, and a refuge camp on the other side. sadly i would barely even consider this news given the location. drive around and try to find a building/street sign that ISNT vandalized in that area

    • Sean

      Frat row is two miles away as is Cedar Square. Try again to place blame on someone else you hate

      • Seriously

        Toss some serious cash at this someone – you will fall off a chair when things show up

      • shawn

        uh… sorry let me rephrase. then.
        “it’s in a nieghborhood in which many landmarks and signage gets lovingly altered or borrowed. It is a beautiful memorial and the victims shall not be forgotten, but outsiders looking in should not be shocked, that this “vandalism” is the norm for this particular metropolitan area”‘

        if your looking for a fight go to a hockey game

    • maybe

      pretty sad thought but I am with you shawn….sounds more like a band of idiots than anything. drunk idiots

  • willis

    What is wrong with people?? Seriously,….. people lost their lives and the loved ones have a special place to reflect on their loss and some uncaring, selfish people cause the family and friends pain once again. Disrespectful, that is what this is.

    • Mike

      What will they reflect? That the state under Pawlenty’s watch allowed a bridge to drop or how everyone tried to escape liability in covering their pain and suffering?
      I doubt a memorial makes anyone of them feel better about the details that led to the bridge falling.

  • Cousin Eddie

    I say we put up one memorial to cover all past, present, and future memorials and be done with it.

    This is like the the platitudinous word “awareness”.

    • yessirreeeeeeee


  • anonymous

    funny, they are able to spend money on a memorial, but not on keeping the bridge from collapsing in the first place


    Or Perhaps you are crazy. I don’t know what part of the cities you live in, but I don’t remeber any hail storms or any kind of storms for that matter.

    • meow


      LMAO … I was just throwing other possible reasons those letters COULD come off based on a flawed design. I didn’t mean that I believed there was actual hail that fell last night. Sheesh, relax. *eyeroll*

  • yep

    How can a few ripped off letters be $4000 in damages?

    • mikey

      Maybe they’re basing the costs on Scrabble points…

    • Doug T

      Government/Union thing – total cost is really only $20 but hey they can milk it for days….

    • Not Surprised

      Depends on how many letters where taken…then you have to pay someone to put them up…I agree with Doug T’s comment to a certain point.

  • KAy

    I get the whole memorial thing but really, if a tornado went through a town and killed 13 people..i doubt their city would set up a memorial in honor of them. I have no problems with memorials but then when stuff like this realize how much of a waste it is then. Put their names on the side of the bridge in memory..that way no one can get to it (as easily i guess)

    • Doug T

      Total Sanity – excellent KAy – spot on.

      A government bridge goes down and the same government then has a witch hunt to blame others , while sanctimoniously tisk-tisking the whole matter for the liberal sheep to soak up all the “good government” — what empty theater that only fools and small children will believe………..Oh wait – It Must have been Bushs fault…!!.

      • Mike

        Actually Doug T, if you pulled your head out of your derriere and read a newspaper you might have learned that the bridge fell when a Republican was Governor. Surely you understand how much conservatives hate government and fixing failing infrastructure at the expense of raising taxes on the wealthy is tantamount to cutting a whole where a heart normally exists.

        • Doug T

          Ohh yes – the great intellectual left. They read newspapers and have hearts…. No brains – but hearts….Because they want to smother all innovation and punish the successful….

          And how do people become wealthy? (which to according to our current Governor is anything over $130,000 – combined household ) Himmmm? They went to school, they worked hard and made good decisions with their life – heck they even got married before having children….And now they get punished for their efforts. Well there are other places to live outside of the Polly-Anna -Momma Knows Best City :)

          “Tax the rich feed the poor – till there are no rich no more..”

          Yup -then we will all be poor and starving…..


  • How was the memorial funded

    Does anybody know how the memorial was funded? Was it private or public money and if it was private, who actually put up the money?

    • Bridge Victum

      The lawyers of the victum and money rasied/ donated from other people help pay for the memorial.

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