Someone took a can of spray paint and defaced Dave Prawdzik’s fence again.
He had wondered if and when it would happen after the Chicago Sun-Times ran a story in February detailing how the Vietnam War veteran had painted two soldiers kneeling over the graves of comrades on a wooden fence last fall to honor fallen brethren and, hopefully, give taggers a reason to think twice before pressing the buttons on their aerosol cans.
The beige fence is prime graffiti real estate. It abuts an on-ramp to the Kennedy Expressway. Thousands of drivers slowly roll by it every day.
For years he would clean the fence only to find it covered in spray paint days or weeks later.
But after he painted the memorial, the tagging stopped.
That’s why he was surprised to find the word “Forgive” sprayed on the fence in late April. He promptly painted over it with beige paint.
Prawdzik, 66, was at first puzzled by the word. Was it a message?
His wife, Cynthia, doesn’t think so. She has seen it around the neighborhood.
“Probably just a random knucklehead,” said Prawdzik, who works for the city’s Department of Aviation keeping the runways clear at O’Hare Airport.
He doesn’t think it was a swipe at the military.
“But it was kind of disturbing,” Prawdzik said. “It’s coming up on Memorial Day. People should show more respect.”
Prawdzik checks the fence nearly every day to see if his memorial is intact. He grew up in the house near Medill and Leavitt.
His parents didn’t want to move when, in the late 1950s, the Kennedy Expressway was slated to run through the family living room. So the home was moved 115 feet to its present location.
“This neighborhood is important to me,” he said.