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Vietnam Veterans Memorial Vandalized

Vietnam Veterans Memorial Vandalism; NPS photo by Terry Adams.

Dark splotches reveal the damage done to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial by a vandal with an unknown type of oil. NPS photo by Terry Adams.

Earlier this month, on September 7th, someone walked along the Vietnam Veterans Memorial with some type of oil, squirting it secretly on the Wall as they walked by. The unknown oil has done real damage to the polished granite surface. The Park Service is now carefully trying to fix the damage. Restoration is moving slowly in order to prevent forcing the oil deeper into the cracks and pores of the stone. The damage appears as dark splotches that are particularly visible on the unpolished stone.

The National Park Service is calling this an act of vandalism, not an accident. US Park Police have been reviewing their security video of the evening for clues. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, which built the Wall, offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the case.

As with anything in this modern information age, someone has grabbed their video camera and documented the damage for the world to see, viewable on YouTube. Here it is, notice the park clean up already in progress.

In November, the Wall will be 25 years old -- four years older than Maya Lin was when her design for the memorial was selected as the winner while she was still an undergraduate in college.

Read More:

Washington Post - Oily Substance on Wall Was Vandalism, Not Accident, Police Say - Damaged Vietnam Memorial Has Park Service Walking on Eggshells

More Photographs - Damage to the Wall


Jeremy, this is absolutely pathetic that one can stoop so low to create such an grievous act of horrendous vandalism. If the perpetrators of this sick act of vandalism are caught, may justice be swift to the fullest extent of the law...and SEVER...and I mean SEVER!!

I agree SOME ONE like this shouldn't be allowed to walk FREE in a FREE country.. HOW LOW can an human animal go!!!

I guess I really don't understand what would motivate someone to do this. It's an odd act of vandalism.

The beauty of the Vietnam war memorial is that it touches deeply to the core of every visitor, regardless of their political affiliation or their feelings about the war. I've seen stanch supporters of the Vietnam war weep at the bold listing of each name and I've seen Vietnam protestors weep at the austerity and anguish the wall represents.

It seems to me a grave unfortunate act of vandalism and I hope for future generations (and for the sake of those the memorial honors and their families) that the Park Service can find the means of mitigating the damage.

This in inexorably sad.

Walked by the Memorial today with my daughter. Didn't see the evidence -- perhaps they've cleaned it up already.

However, it doesn't surprise me a bit. There are so many morons packed into this little world of ours. Every park in the country has something equivalent or worse than this act. People feeding or abusing wildlife, taking a dump on Mammoth Hot Springs (my favorite memory from this summer's trips), tossing trash from their moving vehicles, carving their initials on 2000-year-old trees, burning their names onto cave ceilings, or even worse -- burning down entire historic structures. When I worked at Grand Canyon someone dumped a garbage bag with three sheepdog puppies on the side of the road. Humans are capable of so much, yet disappoint us more often than not. We're a flawed species, to be sure.

Merryman, I have seen most of this pathetic action that you relate so well. In some of the parks that I did managed, I've seen mean sick kids (and parents) breaking glass and hiding the broken pieces in playground sand pits. Teenages breaking beer bottles on public beachs, and obviously (if your in bare feet) you can figure what happens next. Always a first aid kit at hand and tweezers. I can still hear the screams of pain!

These are the same kind of young adults that knock over grave stones,spray paint on private property,hurt animals,and steal from our elderly. When they catch them,they need to be put to work cleaning up instead of putting them in jail. Just think of how clean our towns would be if the judges made people like this work to clean up their towns instead of putting them in jail and making us feed and room them. Maybe it`ll give them a sense of pride,and it might make them think twice about messing up something if they are the ones who have to clean it up.

I don't know if it's a good thing or a bad thing, but there are lots of idiots out there documenting their blatant disdain for park regulations and general stupidity on YouTube. Hopefully it will do more to contribute to them being caught rather than encourage more idiots to come out of the woodwork to try to out-do them.

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