A Veterans Memorial Wall in Venice, CA was vandalized sometime during the few days prior to the 2016 Memorial Day weekend. The wall displays the names of service members who were listed as prisoners-of-war or missing-in-action during the Vietnam War. Local veterans were distraught when they saw the way the wall had been defaced.
A Veterans Memorial Wall Mural vandalized in Venice, CA will be restored in coming days. Although the wall has been vandalized in the past, this was the worst incident and was more upsetting to veterans because it occurred just a few days before the 2016 Memorial Day weekend. (https://twitter.com/zaynmalwik/status/736767042477424640)
The Veterans Memorial Wall is located on Pacific Ave. near Sunset Court in Venice, CA. The mural on the wall has the words “You Are Not Forgotten” painted in large letters at the top of it, and bears the names of 2,273 soldiers who were listed as either prisoners-of-war or missing-in-action during the Vietnam War.
“It’s a desecration. I mean it’s very simple. There’s no sort of other way around it. It isn’t graffiti,” according to George Francisco, the Vice President of the Venice Chamber of Commerce who also runs a nonprofit named Veterans Foundation Incorporated. He told the L.A. Times, ““It’s sad and shocking. Such ignorance and animosity.”
Francisco has been active in bringing recognition to veterans in the Los Angeles area. In March, he was responsible for bringing a replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial to Venice Beach for the public to view.
Francisco’s father, a former Green Beret who did two tours of duty during the Vietnam War, was one of the organizers originally involved in putting up the Veterans Memorial Wall mural in the late 1980s. Consequently, his son George Francisco was particularly upset when he saw the desecration of the wall.
Francisco also told the local CBS affiliate, ““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.”
Over the 2016 Memorial Day weekend, volunteers showed up to help remove the graffiti. In removing the paint, the names underneath the graffiti were also removed, but will be restored in coming days. Some of the volunteers drove more than an hour to help repair the damage. Home Depot donated plenty of cleaning tools and supplies to help the volunteers remove the graffiti.
The graffiti on the mural is similar to the graffiti on other walls in the area. The Los Angeles police do not investigate most incidences of graffiti and do not plan to investigate this one. The Metro bus system, which owns the property, said that they will put additional security near the wall for the next few days to prevent a repeat of the incident. There is a $2,000 reward being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the taggers. That amount may be increased in coming days.
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