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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Investigators are working to find out who vandalized a memorial for veterans outside the Rhode Island State House.

The monuments at the Garden of Heroes, which honor all branches of the military, were defaced with graffiti. Officials believe it happened sometime Thursday evening.

“It broke my heart to see those sacred stones spray-painted or tagged, as they honor our military roots in Rhode Island which has a deep history of service to our country since we were a colony,” R.I. Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) State Commander Joe Patrick said.

Patrick said the VFW arranged for the stones to be power-washed on Monday, and several correctional officers from the ACI stepped in to help.

Rhode Island State Police told 12 News they’re investigating the vandalism, and Gov. Dan McKee said the State House facilities team will help with the cleanup.

“This is an absolutely shameful act,” McKee added. “The Garden of Heroes is a solemn place where loved ones come to honor and remember our fallen soldiers. I am disgusted by this cowardly vandalism, but I am thankful to the members of the RIVFW for their immediate willingness to engage in the restoration of the monument.”

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