Sites in California, Kentucky, and Virginia
As Americans across the nation begin Memorial Day weekend with thoughts and prayers honoring our nation’s fallen heroes, vandals defaced veteran memorials in California, Kentucky, and Virginia.
Memorials to veterans in a Los Angeles neighborhood and a town in Kentucky, as well as a Civil War veterans cemetery in Virginia, were damaged as the nation prepares to mark Memorial Day, officials said.
A Vietnam War memorial in the Venice area of Los Angeles has been extensively defaced by graffiti. The vandalism occurred sometime during the past week, KCAL/KCBS-TV (http://cbsloc.al/1RAa3mg) reported. The homespun memorial painted on a block-long wall on Pacific Avenue lists the names of American service members missing in action or otherwise unaccounted for in Southeast Asia.
News of the vandalism came as another veterans-related memorial was reported damaged in Henderson, Kentucky. Police say a Memorial Day cross display there that honors the names of 5,000 veterans of conflicts dating back to the Revolutionary War has been damaged by a driver who plowed through the crosses early Saturday.
In Virginia, the Petersburg National Battlefield has apparently has been looted, the National Park Service said. Numerous excavations were found at the Civil War battlefield last week, Jeffrey Olson, and agency spokesman, said in a news release Friday. Petersburg National Battlefield is a 2,700-acre park marks where more than 1,000 Union and Confederate soldiers died fighting during the Siege of Petersburg 151 years ago.
In Los Angeles’ Venice neighborhood, the wall for missing veterans has been tagged previously, but the latest vandalism covers the bottom half of the memorial for much of its length.
The vandalism of the Venice, California memorial appears to be a large graffiti “tag” that covers much of the memorial and is described as “desecration.”
Stewart Oscars welled up as he looked at the vandalized mural located on Pacific Avenue near Sunset Court. It was covered in graffiti from end to end.
“This knocked me out. So sickening. Just sadness…think of all these people. They’re gone,” Oscars said. “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.”
The memorial was dedicated to service members who were listed as missing in action during the Vietnam War.
George Francisco is the Vice President of the Venice Chamber of Commerce. He also runs a nonprofit called Veterans Foundation Incorporated.
“It’s a desecration. I mean it’s very simple. There’s no sort of other way around it. It isn’t graffiti,” Francisco said.
Watch the report:
In Kentucky, the vandalism entailed a man driving his vehicle over the white memorial crosses.
[Photo via the Hendersonville Police Department]
A man has been arrested in conjunction with this act . . . after his vehicle was spotted with a white memorial cross embedded in his tires. It’s not clear whether or not this act was deliberate, investigators say.
Henderson Police Department made an arrest in a vandalism case after they found the suspect’s car with a cross and stake to hold the cross embedded in his tires.
Anthony Lavelle Burrus, 27, charged with criminal mischief and leaving the scene of an accident. Burrus was arrested after police said a vehicle drove through the Memorial Day cross display at at 5:55 a.m. Saturday in Central Park in Henderson, Kentucky.
Officers said the motorists damaged 160 crosses. The Henderson Fire Department, as well as volunteers, helped to clean-up the display. Burrus’ 1979 Ford Thunderbird was found abandoned at a McDonald’s parking lot after police found surveillance video of the suspect’s car.
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