OSWEGATCHIE — The theft of a large urn from the grave of a decorated Vietnam War veteran at Pine Hill Cemetery on the Eel Weir Road has prompted a family member to question whether such conduct is an isolated incident, or an indicator of a greater collapse in moral character in society.
Patricia Lawrence, a Heuvelton native who now lives in Florida, said she was more than dismayed when her cousin in Oswegatchie contacted her to let her know that a large white urn on her father and mother’s grave at Pine Hill Cemetery had been stolen. Other graves at the cemetery were also vandalized, she said.
Ms. Lawrence said the urn was originally purchased when her mother passed away, and her father kept it full of flowers during the seven-year period when he lived without her. When her father Lowell L. Livingston died three years ago, family members began taking care of the urn for both of them.
She said her father was a career Air Force enlisted man who received a Bronze Star for valor during the Vietnam War. When he died three years ago he was buried with full military honors.
Following his military career, Mr. Livingston also worked as a St. Lawrence County sheriff’s deputy.
Ms. Lawrence said the theft at her parents’ grave is particularly disheartening given how much her father gave to his community and his country during his lifetime.
She said during his 21-year career with the Air Force, he served in Vietnam from approximately 1969 to 1971. It was during that time he worked with the Army Corps of Engineers, building runways, hangars and bridges for the military.
Ms. Lawrence said he never talked about the Bronze Star he was awarded while serving in Vietnam. She said all the family knew was that he was a decorated combat veteran.
The Bronze Star medal is awarded to a member of the U.S. Armed Forces who distinguishes him or herself either for valor, or other meritorious achievement, during a period of war.
“My parents taught me not to use bad language, although it was running through my head when I found out what happened at the grave,” Ms. Lawrence said. “This generation just doesn’t seem to have respect for anything.”
Anyone with information about the urn theft or other vandalism at Pine Hill Cemetery in Oswegatchie can call the Sheriff’s Department at 315-379-2222.