The Vietnam War memorial located by Fenway’s James P. Kelleher Rose Garden was vandalized with red paint on Thursday in an act that pains the community and military families, city officials said.
“It was a horrific act of vandalism and hate, and to desecrate a memorial for men and women that made the supreme sacrifice to our nation is unconscionable,” said Boston City Councilor Ed Flynn, who served 20 years in the Navy.
Red paint streaked across all three pillars of the memorial where names of fallen heroes are written. A 311 report submitted on Thursday documented the damage, and Boston Police responded early Friday morning, according to a spokesman.
“When those types of crimes happen, I think it’s meant also to attack all of us, and it’s meant to cause intentional pain to military families,” Flynn told the Herald.
The memorial was quickly cleaned and restored by city workers on Friday, but the memorial remained closed pending restoration, according to signage outside the monument.
The nearby Korean memorial and World War II memorial appeared to be untouched.
“These memorials are extremely important to many people, especially military families,” Flynn said.
Boston’s Commissioner of Veterans Services Robert Santiago said the act “doesn’t reflect who we are as a city,” and added that he’s confident Boston Police will find the person or people responsible for the vandalism.
“These memorials are sacred. They need to be respected,” Santiago told the Herald. He added, “It’s very disheartening and frustrating.”
There have been several other acts of vandalism to war memorials in Boston in recent years.
The Puerto Rican Veterans Memorial in the South End was vandalized on the eve of Memorial Day 2020, with two stones damaged, including one knocked over, and a Puerto Rican flag lowered.
The year prior, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on Morrissey Boulevard was desecrated twice with flags pulled from the ground, bricks thrown at the memorial and a swastika and a hate-filled message scrawled on the stone monuments.
Just before that incident, the South Boston World War II memorial was defaced by oil, and a special chemical solvent was used in restoration efforts.
Both Flynn and Santiago said that to prevent future crimes, the public must be educated about the significance of the memorials.
“We have to talk about the service and the sacrifices these men and women and their families have made for our country and educate and talk about the role of the men and women that served and made the supreme sacrifice,” Flynn said.
Boston police detectives are investigating and seeking information from the public. People with information should call police at 617-343-4250.
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