Vietnam War memorial wall in Venice vandalized: 'Disgusting and disrespectful act'

- Vandals in Venice sprayed a thick sheen of silver paint over most of the 2,273 names of Vietnam veterans on a mural along Pacific Avenue, during the week before Memorial Day, it was reported Sunday.

Venice resident Stewart Oscars drove by Wednesday and noticed the damage that covered the mural, which has stood in the same place untouched since 1992 on Pacific Avenue near Sunset Court, the Los Angeles Times reported.

"It's like a direct attack. If you have any sense of history, you'd never do this,'' Oscars told The Times. "That's lots of names. Those are people."

Oscars told the newspaper the graffiti stretched on for about 100 feet.

The mural has a message at the top reading "You Are Not Forgotten" and bears the names of the soldiers counted as prisoners of war or missing in action in Vietnam.

The Times reported that after the mural's dedication in 1992, the artist, Peter Stewart, said he was inspired to paint the wall after attending a welcome-home parade for Operation Desert Storm veterans.

And because the mural is on MTA property, the investigation into the vandalism was being handled by the sheriff's Transit Policing Division.

"We sent deputies out there (Saturday) to take a detailed report and we're having our crime impact team look into it,'' Ramon Montenegro, a spokesman for the sheriff's Transit Policing Division.

Meanwhile Councilman Mike Bonin said he wanted the mural restored as soon as possible, adding that "vandalizing a monument to brave men and women who served our country in a time of war is a disgusting and disrespectful act and my office has been in touch with the Board of Public Works and Office of Community Beautification to have the wall cleaned as soon as possible.''

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