Young man issues public apology for defacing war memorial in Danville

On Thursday night, a rare public apology from a young man who defaced a revered war memorial in Danville. The apology was part of Jared Vance's deal with the district attorney's office, after he was charged with vandalizing the All Hill Memorial in Oak Hill Park last June.

The apology happened at the Veterans Memorial Building in Danville where Danville spoke to a crowd of veterans. It was a very "respectful" meeting from both sides. The veterans said they came to the meeting looking for resolution and healing after this crime and they got that.

About 50 veterans and their families came to the Veterans Memorial Building in Danville, looking for closure to a crime they wished never happened.

"As veteran you have a real sense of pride and when someone does something like that, it's really hurtful but we are willing to forgive," said Vietnam War Veteran Randy Reid.

Last June, the all wars memorial, a memorial that honors the sacrifices of hundreds of veterans dating back to the Revolutionary War, was found vandalized tagged with graffiti. Some of the words "let's get high" scribbled on it.. Two months later, then 18-year-old Jared Vance from Utah came forward admitting the crime.

Considering the memorial's value to be "priceless," the District Attorney's Office recommended Vance go through the Restorative Justice Program calling for 100 hours of community service, restitution for graffiti cleanup and a public apology.

Sandra Regan and her military family are among those who attended.

"I think it was really hard and it was really brave of him to face the town of Danville."

Vance read from a prepared statement, saying he was out with friends not realizing what he defaced was a veteran's memorial. He went on to say, he recognizes he disrespected the veteran's community calling the memorial "valuable" and "sacred." Regan called it a teachable moment.

"We appreciate it," said Blue Star Mom Sandra Regan. "I think I also wanted my kids to see that people make mistakes and you move on and the town, our amazing town of Danville will still support you. He's still welcomed back here."

After Vance's speech, the crowd of veterans applauded. The president of the All Wars Memorial Foundation accepted his apology.

"It's a very powerful thing to do and it works wonders and I think it did in this case," said William Picton, president of the All Wars Memorial Foundation.

Vance also answered questions and said making the apology opened his eyes to make better choices. He now has a job to pay for the steep fines and he's looking forward to getting back on his feet.