NEW YORK(CBSNewYork) — Parents of a hero soldier who was killed while crossing a Long Island street claim to have gotten the run around over a makeshift memorial that was dedicated to their son’s life.
Rose and Oliver Byrne became upset when the memorial was removed by the Village of the Branch in Smithtown without explanation, CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan reported.
“My heart is broken because this memorial has been taken down,” Rose said.
Seamus Byrne was awarded a Purple Heart after being wounded in Afghanistan. He was fatally struck by a car while crossing Main Street in his hometown. The community quickly set up a makeshift memorial to honor the fallen soldier.
Byrne’s parents were visiting relatives in Ireland when they found out that the memorial, which included treasured mementos including the military cover that Seamus wore when he received his Purple Heart.
“It meant something to us because this is where he was killed,” his parents said.
A new village sign now stands in the place where the memorial had been built.
“It was untouched for over two years. No one said it should come down. People respected it,” Oliver said.
Eventually the Byrnes were given some of the cherished items left at the memorial. But, questions still remained even after CBS 2 reached out to the county, town, and village.
“We’ll have to speak to the rest of the board to determine what we could possibly do,” Village of the Branch Mayor Tom Keon, explained.
The Byrnes have been pleading for the return of all of Seamus’ military mementos and have sought permission to erect a permanent memorial to their son.
The Village of the Branch code does not contain directives pertaining to makeshift memorials.
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