Volunteers fix vandalized Vietnam War memorial in Venice

VENICE, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Volunteers helped cleanup a Vietnam War memorial wall in Venice after it was vandalized with graffiti on Sunday.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department was investigating the incident and believe the crime happened sometime last week.

The memorial, located on a black wall along Pacific Avenue, was painted by a Vietnam veteran in 1992 and has 2,273 names on it. It declares "You are not forgotten," which was covered up by the graffiti. Citizens all the way from Lancaster and other areas came together to repaint the phrase over the markings and cleanup the graffiti.

"The bad guys were not going to win today. We are going to come here and repair the wall. These guys gave their lives so that we can have what we have today, and I refuse for them to be disrespected," said one volunteer.

The wall has been previously tagged, but the latest vandalism is the most extensive as it covers up the bottom half of the memorial for much of its length.

George Francisco, vice president of the Venice Chamber of Commerce, said the vandals who did the crime are "ignorant."

"It's a desecration of something that's a tribute to people who went off to war, in a very unpopular war, and they never came back," he said. "The children who ragged this are ignorant. The children who ragged this don't even know that it's Memorial Day."

He added that the chamber was going to restore the wall, but plans were halted because of a possible decision to make the space as a development for the homeless or section 8 housing.

The taggers' disregard for the memorial not only brought volunteers to help clean, but many said it will now likely fast-track restoration plans.

The wall is owned by Los Angeles Metro and officials from the company said it will have their police department keep an eye on the area until Memorial Day.

Veteran memorials were also vandalized in Virginia and Henderson, Kentucky, which has put a dark cloud over the Memorial Day weekend for many community members.
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