Tagged Vietnam memorial wall covered up on Memorial Day

VENICE, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A Vietnam War Memorial in Venice was covered up this Memorial Day after it was written over with graffiti, and a veteran whose name is on the wall spoke about the heinous act.

Stephen Lanier is one of the veterans depicted on the Vietnam Memorial Wall on Pacific Avenue. He served 17 years in the Marine Corps. and posed with members from other branches of the military for a photo. It was that picture the artist used to paint the mural in 1992.

Lanier found out on Sunday that the wall had been damaged and disrespected by taggers.

"I'm just shocked that someone could be so insensitive to do something like that and not have a conscious," Lanier said.

The graffiti was extensive as it covered most of the lower-half of the mural and many of the 2,273 names of the soldiers taken prisoner during the Vietnam War, or who were missing in action.

Once the act of vandalism was shown on the news, volunteers drove to Venice to help remove the paint. Sadly for many, erasing the taggers mark also wiped out hundreds of the names.

For now, the mural was expected to stay covered with a tarp until restoration can begin.

"These are people who have not been brought home, haven't been buried properly. That was their version of a tomb stone, so the disrespect to a tombstone like that - what type of people are we dealing with?" Lanier asked.

Flags were placed by two Marines from 29 Palms. They said it's their way of giving back to the people listed on the wall.
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