Members of the American Legion Post 164 vowed not to let the thief destroy their plans to honor veterans, so they installed a new cannon in the same spot Saturday afternoon during a rededication ceremony. The community was welcomed to the unveiling.
"Their duty was to serve, our duty to always remember," said Major Allen Acosta, a dignitary speaker at the event.
"It just kind of warms me. When this started coming together real fast, I got some goosebumps," said veteran Tony Dayton.
Legion members had to find and install the new cannon after a thief cut through a heavy chain, stealing the original.
"I felt that they took a piece from our memorial, our dedication, our honor and everything we built, you know?" said Dayton.
"It stung when I heard about it," said William DJ Koutrouba, also known as ‘Captain Bill.’ He is the Norse West Viking Festival Captain and a Cold War veteran. He donated the replacement cannon from his own collection.
"We are not losing. We are going to put it right back there and make it twice as hard to steal," said Bill. "I can’t think of a better place for it to sit than right there."
Bill said the community is also still on the lookout for the thief.
"Somebody knows who took that. It’s 400 lbs," said Bill. "It isn’t like somebody is just running down the street with this thing. So, somebody saw it and somebody’s going to tell us, ‘Hey I saw so-and-so with it’."
Tony said there's also added security measures this time around. "We have a camera on it, we’ve got that it will be notifying someone," he said. "We have a veteran that is here 24 hours a day. If this goes off and the veteran is notified, I would not want to be the criminal that day."
With the memorial repaired, the community is now moving forward.
"This cannon is a symbol of their legacy, their legacy of great example," said Allen. "Let's go forth and commit in remembrance of our fallen."