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.

Comments (131)
  1. Kathy says:

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

    1. @Kathy says:

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

      1. Huxley says:

        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.

        1. Phid says:

          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”.

          1. meow says:


            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.

            1. Rob W says:

              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?

              1. meow says:

                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.

            2. See BS says:

              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.

              1. Sean says:

                Bow to your god of small minded hate.

                1. See BS says:

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

                  Maybe if I should watch Network TV.

              2. Liberal says:

                I would rather embrace anything than a Republican.

                1. See BS says:

                  Doesn’t even make any sense

        2. Paul says:

          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?

          1. Iconoclast says:


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

      2. Pocho Basura says:

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

        1. JamesT says:

          Your an IDIOT!!!

          1. JamesTK says:

            Your an IDIOT!!!

      3. Craig says:

        C, mon stay on topic sheesh!!

    2. meow says:

      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.

      1. Phid says:

        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”.

        1. meow says:


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

          1. Jason Lee says:

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

            1. meow says:

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

              1. mikey says:

                The truth can be a harsh mistress meow.

        2. Jason Lee says:

          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.

          1. Eric says:

            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

            1. frozenrunner says:

              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.

        3. Are you people for real???? says:

          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.

          1. meow says:


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

            1. weird argument says:

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

          2. M says:

            you ain’t just whistlin dixie!

    3. Phid says:

      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.

      1. Woodsman says:

        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.

      2. Eric says:

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

      3. markH says:


        “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.

    4. Brian Pelletier says:

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

      1. Woodsman says:

        There is no such being as “satan.”

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

      2. meow says:

        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.

  2. Dennis from Elk River says:

    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.

  3. RE says:


  4. why? says:

    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. ;(

    1. llp says:

      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..

      1. regarding respect says:

        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

  5. Aaron says:

    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.

  6. michael jackson says:

    You know what kind of people did this.

    1. Warren Peace says:

      Da Schwarzes!

      1. Max says:

        Are you being sarcastic or did you mean this??

    2. KDP says:


  7. Aaron says:

    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.

    1. Warren Peace says:

      You absolute moron.

      No taxpayer dollars were used for the memorial.

    2. Ali says:

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

      1. Iconoclast says:

        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!

        1. Sconoclast says:

          George Soros loves you!

        2. Ali says:

          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!

  8. Kally says:

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

    1. Warren Peace says:


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

  9. Jeff says:

    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?

  10. me says:

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

  11. The Architect says:

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

      1. The Architect says:


        What’s your sign?

        Come here often?


        1. Iconoclast says:

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

          1. Iconoclast says:

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

            1. Iconoclast says:

              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.

              1. Beer Guzzling Redneck says:


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


              2. Iconoclast says:

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

  12. meow says:

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


  13. Hanging them would be too good. says:

    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.

  14. The Grynch says:

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

  15. Alvin Marcott says:

    kids will be kids. let’s not be to harsh 🙂

  16. shawn says:

    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

    1. maybe says:

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

    2. Sean says:

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

      1. Seriously says:

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

      2. shawn says:

        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

  17. willis says:

    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.

    1. Mike says:

      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.

  18. Cousin Eddie says:

    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”.

    1. yessirreeeeeeee says:


  19. anonymous says:

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

  20. HELLO says:

    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.

    1. meow says:


      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*

  21. yep says:

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

    1. Doug T says:

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

    2. Not Surprised says:

      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.

    3. mikey says:

      Maybe they’re basing the costs on Scrabble points…

  22. KAy says:

    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 happens..you 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)

    1. Doug T says:

      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…!!.

      1. Mike says:

        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.

        1. Doug T says:

          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…..


  23. How was the memorial funded says:

    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?

    1. Bridge Victum says:

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

  24. Not Surprised says:

    I find it amusing that the reporters are asking “who would do such a thing” or why people are appalled that this vandalism happened…Wake up naive people…….Americans have lost their morals, values and integrity…which is quickly leading to the downfall of our country…that’s just the start of why crime and vandalism happens…

  25. Max says:

    I say – publish the list of the letters that were stolen. I’m sure some puzzle-minded individual could figure out the name of the person who stole them by rearranging those letters…

  26. My guess is that they stole the letters to spell out their own name. Parents should check the bedroom walls of their kids.

  27. WOW says:

    you people from minnesota that comment on these boards, by god you people are haters! Very sad to see. I have been from mn 43 years and minnesota people are just rude!

    Sorry the tribute was vandalized.

  28. Fanny Forbes Franklen says:

    “The law does not pretend to punish everything that is dishonest. That would seriously interfere with business.” ~ Clarence Darrow


  29. Awe Geeze says:

    Blacks did this….of course.

    1. oooooooh boy says:

      no doubt – the affluent white kind (maybe bleached huh?) that are in the frat house across the way
      someone toss a big $ bone out there and you might just be real surprised where things can be found

  30. AeroJack7 says:

    Those damned Tea Partiers. They will be the ruination of our country.

  31. come on kids says:

    you morons barking this or that on the religion.
    Take it elsewhere eh
    It has no place here. None

  32. DefinitelyNotARasist says:

    Wow when did this become a religious debate? LMAO this was the work of urban black kids who has nothing better to do or either cracked out white boys trying to be black. Blame it on them! How’s that for changing the subject!?

  33. Hank Warren says:

    Illegals tearing up US infrastructure now that the lawn care work dried up, yet another violation of our rights. Add it to the list of gov’t violations of our rights:
    They violate the 1st Amendment by placing protesters in cages, banning books like “America Deceived II” and censoring the internet.
    They violate the 2nd Amendment by confiscating guns.
    They violate the 4th and 5th Amendment by molesting airline passengers.
    They violate the entire Constitution by starting undeclared wars for foreign countries.
    Impeach Obama, vote for Ron Paul.
    (Last link of Banned Book):

    1. dumb Hank says:

      anudder GD fruitcake Tea Pee’er

  34. Tom says:

    Didn’t take the TeapubliCON filth long…did it?

  35. Ron says:

    Can the wall be engraved instead of letters being affixed to it so the little B******* won’t do it again?

  36. Wormwood says:

    Dear Woodsman, thank you for being a good little sheep. Keep spreading the good news about throwing away guilt and fear. Life gives far too many years for them to figure me and my schemes out. Let them enjoy all they can and forget about the rest.. just enjoy it all, as much as you can, always.
    Your imaginary friend,

  37. mikey says:

    Looks like the first thing we need to do is look for the world’s largest Scrabble board….

  38. wow says:

    You religious nuts are all related to Michelle Bachmann huh. To bad

  39. Greg says:

    Whoever did this needs to be thrown head first off the bridge.

  40. Iconoclast says:

    I want th e government to take care of me forever and I want do and live however they want me to do it. Please join my cause!!!!!!

  41. Rob says:

    Find who did it and shoot them dead.

  42. Patrick PatPat Lilja says:

    I think some people really just wanted to be rebels when they did this. Why can’t people be rebellious without damaging property like this? They have to spray paint every free wall and steal letters from memorials like this. It’s stupid and I don’t understand.

  43. Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak urged the person or people responsible for the vandalism to return the stolen letters. says:

    Are you kidding me!! Hunt them down and put them away!!

  44. Sarah in Outstate MN says:

    I am so disappointed in my fellow citizens. Minnesota is going down hill fast. Are we the next Chicago? New York?

    1. needsomelisterine says:

      I think we are also. Damn shame, I think I just burped up a little vomit in my mouth.

    2. Doug T says:

      You wish! Actually Minneapolis has been trying really-really hard to be the next Detroit! You got to start somewhere and maybe – just maybe someday a mini-Chicago is possible! …Himm funny thing about that – all mentioned citys have been bastions for the crazy left for a long time …common thread?

  45. I'M NOT AMUSED says:

    My father beat me after getting burned in a bush fire. I think everyone’s posts on this subject are insensitive. What about me and my needs? Who cares about this stupid memorial? There should be a memorial erected in acknowledgement of all my suffering in life. All of you are tools!! For a real news story worth following, you should see the article about the guy who burned himself after starting a pile of brush on fire. I relate. My father did the same thing!

    1. gotsomematches says:

      Dude, get help.

  46. bye bye trolls says:

    Please WCCO off topic comments should be filtered. Otherwise your just providing a chat room for sad, pathetic people. Most do not have the courage to talk in public so they use these forums to “express” themselves.

    Trolls never change …

  47. Dumb, and Dumber says:

    This was most likely done by someone who felt the taxpayers money had been wasted. So now we can spend even more of the taxpayers money to repair the damage, and pay for security to insure that it doesn’t happen again.
    I believe the same “MInnesota Cheap” mentality is what brought the bridge down to begin with.

    1. Beer Guzzling Redneck says:

      What’s even dumber is you thinking any taxpayer money had been used at all.

      don’tcha think?

  48. biglou64 says:

    Why do things like this happen? Because people s**k. God, hit the restart button on this world any time.

  49. The Truth says:

    Thats what happens when you put a quality item in the hood and think it will be safe because it has meaning and stands for something. Those Nigletts are everywhere

  50. Craig says:

    Amazing people lets stay on topic, bashing others for there religious beliefs is rediculas. There exsists freedom of speech and freedom of religion.

    Very sad, I hope the local community will provide assistance to investigators and turn in these vandals, let us all keep in out memory those who lost their life and their famalies and not make this comment section here a religious debacle!!! If any of you can do that it shows respect and honor.

  51. markH says:

    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…”

    Every day I read WCCO stories containing multiple grammatical errors, typos, and word omissions, but this is just ridiculous. I would think that the writer of this story would (at the very least) confirm and verify the actual verbiage on the memorial plaque. Once again we see the “bar of personal expectation” lowered just a little more. Peace.

  52. impulse94 says:

    What were the missing letters? I bet they spell out the culprit’s name.

  53. thats mn nice for ya says:

    has nothing to do with GOD or SCIENCE, has soley to do with a bunch of pin heads or perhaps one so pinhead who needs a good smack across the backside!!…give the letters back you callous knucklehead!!