LOS ANGELES (AP) — 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.
The wall has been tagged previously, but the latest vandalism covers the bottom half of the memorial for much of its length.
To George Francisco, vice president of the Venice Chamber of Commerce, it's not just graffiti. "It's a desecration. I mean it's very simple. There's no sort of other way around it, said Francisco, who also runs a nonprofit called Veterans Foundation Inc.
"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," Francisco said.
Painted by a Vietnam veteran and dedicated in 1992, it declares, "You are not forgotten" and states the number of missing as 2,273.
According to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, the number of unaccounted-for Americans was listed at 2,646 in 1973. About half were those missing in action, and the others were those killed in action but the body was not recovered.
Since then, the remains of more than 1,000 American have been identified and returned and about 1,600 have still not been accounted for, although efforts continue.