Friday, November 09, 2007

"It's just a slap to us and what America stands for."

[TxDOT] Landscapers mow right over signs honoring local veterans


By Kevin Quinn
Copyright 2007

- Just a few days before Veterans Day, some local vets are steaming. That's because signs in their honor were mowed to shreds.

As many as 80 signs bearing the names of those who served in the U.S. military had been shredded, torn into countless pieces by a landscaping crew and left on the side of FM 2100 from the Highlands to Huffman.

"I wanted to grab the guy off the tractor and pinch his head off, is the way I felt," said veteran Joe Anselmo. "I was that angry."

Past American Legion Commander Anselmo saw the crew mowing right over the signs Friday morning. He says he tried to stop them, but the crew didn't speak English.

Anselmo, who served two tours in Vietnam, ran up ahead to grab his sign and those of his five family members. He saved those, but says he couldn't save many others or the respect that each soldier or Marine is due.

Anselmo laments that he now once again has that empty feeling that he felt upon returning from Vietnam.

"Whenever I got off the plane and they were spitting on me, I felt like I was being spit on again," he said.

The signs are part of the Highway of Honor. They're put up there before every Veterans' or Memorial Day by the American Legion and a local church. This year, nearly 600 signs dot the roadway.

The Son Harvest Church obtained a permit from the state Department of Transportation to place the signs on the side of the road. Its pastor doesn't understand why that didn't keep this from happening.

"It's just a slap to us and what America stands for," said Son Harvest Church Pastor Richard Amador.

TxDOT has now apologizes to all those involved, claiming there was a lack of communication between the landscaper paid to work there and their office.

Stuart Corder with TxDOT told us, "If you're out there doing the work and see those signs, you don't run them over, permit or no permit."

The landscaping company has also apologized.

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