PLANTS STOLEN: Vietnam veteran Geoffrey Fallis was reduced to tears when he discovered someone had defaced the Cotton Tree cenotaph area.
PLANTS STOLEN: Vietnam veteran Geoffrey Fallis was reduced to tears when he discovered someone had defaced the Cotton Tree cenotaph area. Nicola Brander

Vandals make Vietnam vet cry over cenotaph

VIETNAM veteran Geoffrey Fallis was reduced to tears when he discovered someone had defaced the Cotton Tree cenotaph area.

The 65-year-old was crushed to find of plants he had planted just 24 hours earlier had been stolen.

The Marcoola man said his "blood, sweat and tears" went into caring for the gardens and lawn around the war memorial.

"This act is pure sacrilege," Mr Fallis said.

"This is a shrine to pay tribute to our fallen comrades.

"My grandfather was in the Boer War, I had four uncles in New Guinea and an uncle who died on the Burma Railway.

"This places means a lot to me. I look after it and take pride in this area."

The plants stolen were taken from between two stone walls that read "courage" and "mateship".

Mr Fallis said there was "nothing courageous about stealing plants" and "the act definitely didn't demonstrate mateship".

But was not the first vandalism at the cenotaph.

Last month someone pulled all the crosses out of the ground, broke them and scattered them around Cotton Tree Park.

"It is very disrespectful," he said.

"You wouldn't be able to print what I want to say to these mongrels."

The plants were donated by Sunshine Coast Council to beautify the area before the centenary of Gallipoli next year.

Councillor Jason O'Pray said the theft of plants was an insult to the man who continued to give his time and effort to honour our fallen.

He said it was disrespectful to the men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

"It is incomprehensible that some riff-raff in our community would vandalise, deface and steal from our very own Diggers," Cr O'Pray said.

"They should be ashamed of themselves."

The council will supply additional plants for the area next week.


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