This weekend, many of us were honoring the fallen who gave up so much to ensure our freedom and liberty. However, vandals in the Venice area of Los Angeles took it upon themselves to deface a Vietnam War memorial with graffiti.
The memorial stands on Pacific Avenue and lists the names of American service members who went missing in action or are still unaccounted for in Southeast Asia. The memorial was originally painted by a Vietnam veteran in 1992 and boldly declares, “You are not forgotten” and then lists the names of 2,273 missing service members. This isn’t the first time vandals have defaced the memorial, but this time they covered up at least 100 feet of the entire bottom half of the memorial.
The vandalism hit the locals hard especially during this Memorial Day weekend. Venice Chamber of Commerce Vice President and President of Veterans Foundation Inc. George Gianfrancisco expressed his dismay, ““It’s a desecration. I mean it’s very simple. There’s no sort of other way around it.” He continued, “I’ve known the sacrifices these people made in an incredibly unpopular war. So to continue the mistreatment of Vietnam veterans is somewhat shocking, somewhat shocking and quite sad.”
Stewart Oscars echoed Gianfrancisco’s dismay, “This knocked me out. So sickening. Just sadness…think of all these people. They’re gone. I remember the Vietnam war and how friends went to war, and bodies came back. Somehow, it has to be taught that this is not a good idea. This is actually stupid.”
Oscars and Gianfrancisco are absolutely correct. This is a tragedy and a desecration. These service members fought for our country and to have their memory tarnished is an outright travesty. We should honor our service members and treat their memory with the respect and honor it deserves because there are still around 1,600 members who are unaccounted for from the Vietnam War.
Fortunately, volunteers came together to remove the graffiti, but there will be more work to fully restore the memorial which is painted on the side of a Metro building.
Metro CEO Phil Washingtton issued a statement:
We were initially hopeful that the graffiti could be removed without damaging the memorial, but Metro’s contractor says the damage is too extensive. Metro will work with the community to gather historical photos so the wall can be restored. In the meantime, Metro will cover the wall as a gesture of respect to the fallen whose names were covered by the graffiti.
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H/T: LA Times