9/11 memorial in Bucks County vandalized just days before anniversary

Maggie Kent Image
Tuesday, September 8, 2020
9/11 memorial in Bucks County vandalized just days before anniversary
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Just days before the 19th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks, someone vandalized a memorial to the victims in Yardley, Pennsylvania.

YARDLEY, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- A memorial fountain for the victims of the September 11th terrorist attacks is being cleaned by Lower Makefield Township crews today after someone poured a large amount of soap into the water.

"It appears someone dumped a few gallons of dish detergent into the fountain. That created a bubble mass the whole entire width of the fountain itself and about five feet high," said Lt. Jason Braim of the Lower Makefield Police Department.

"My hope is that it was a bunch of dumb young teenagers. I think that it makes a case that we need to get more education out to the public on what the Garden is," says Judi Reiss, who lost her son on 9/11.

The fountain sits in the Garden of Reflection surrounded by the names of the 2,973 people killed in the September 11th terrorist attacks, eighteen of whom lived in Bucks County.

That includes Joshua Reiss from Lower Makefield. He was 23 years old. We spoke to his mother, Judi.

"He had a lot of promise, he was a lot of fun, he was smart, he was charming," said Reiss. "It's left a hole in our lives even 19 years later."

9/11 Timeline: How the September 11 attacks unfolded

This is the second time the fountain in the Garden of Reflection has been filled with soap suds. Cleaning crews dealt with the same issue six years ago.

"This location should not be disturbed a total lack of respect for what this fountain stands for as a monument. Families are going through a very difficult time this time of year," said Lt. Braim.

Lower Makefield Township Police say surveillance may help them identify the culprit, and bring about criminal mischief charges.

For Judi Reiss, this is a temporary nuisance... she's overcome much worse.

"It was a little disheartening. But I know just like with our lives, we can clean up we can fix it up, and on September 11th the garden will be at its most beautiful," said Reiss.

Cleaning crews are power washing the soap from the cracks and crevices in the fountain floor, so it can be restored and running for a socially-distanced ride-by memorial procession on Friday.