It was the ultimate slap in the face to those from Porterville who paid the ultimate price for this country.

Overnight between late Sunday night and early Monday morning the portion of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial that displays the names of all those from Porterville who died in the Vietnam War was covered with graffiti that was quite graphic in its manner and language.

City staff had already worked extensively to remove the graffiti on Monday morning and were already able to remove much of it as the foul and graphic graffiti is now much less distinguishable than it originally was. 

“They’re doing a good job taking all that stuff off,” said Allen Pundt from American Legion Post 20, which helps maintain the memorial and the park along with Parks and Leisure Services.

But the effort to completely remove the graffiti will likely still be a lengthy and costly process.

“It’s too early to tell all of that,” said Porterville Parks and Leisure Services Director Donnie Moore on how long and how costly the effort will be.

Moore said the city filed a report with the Porterville Police Department and if the perpetrators are caught, restitution for the costs of restoring the memorial by those who vandalized it is obviously an option. A fundraising effort is also an alternative to restore the memorial — and do what can be done to prevent the memorial from being vandalized again.

Pundt said what he said when he first saw what happened couldn’t be repeated. He did say, “it’s upsetting.”

While Pundt said the memorial has been vandalized before he said about this time “that’s the worst I’ve seen.”

He added the American Legion will look at what can be done to protect the memorial, possibly putting a fence around the portion that displays the names of all those who died in Vietnam. “We’ll try to keep a closer eye on it,” Pundt said.

Pundt added whatever needs to be done to restore the memorial will be done. “We’ll get it taken care of,” he said. “We’ll deal with it.”

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