Vietnam Veterans Memorial Vandalized in Washington, D.C.

by Lauren Boisvert

Yesterday, Sept. 21, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was vandalized. National Park Service officials found the vandalism around 9:30 in the morning. This included a burned wreath and a directory of names. This comes the same day that a man allegedly threw red paint and scrawled profane graffiti on the base of the Washington Monument. Authorities claim these two incidents were not related, however.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund posted the news on Facebook. “We are saddened to say that vandals struck the site of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. this week,” the nonprofit wrote on social media. “A wreath that had been laid at The Wall was burned as well as one of our name directories. Please know that we are working with the appropriate authorities on it and that we will be replacing the name directory as soon as possible.”

Images from the incident show a pile of ashes where a wreath was once laid. Additionally, the photos show the scorched and blackened edge of a name directory. The National Park Service worked on Wednesday afternoon to clean up the mess and replace the directory. Currently, the vandalism is under investigation by the US Park Police.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial was built to honor those in the Armed Forces who served in the Vietnam War. The Wall lists the names of the 58,318 servicemembers who died in the war or remain missing. The Wall was completed in 1982. The statue “The Three Soldiers” joined in 1984 and the Vietnam Women’s Memorial in 1993.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial Vandalized Same Day Man Throws Paint On Washington Monument

In other unfortunate news, on the same day the National Park Service found vandalism at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, they also found profane graffiti painted on the Washington Monument. On the evening of Sept. 21, the US Park Police found graffiti scrawled on the base of the monument. Accompanying the bright splash of red paint were the words, “Have you been f—ed by this? Gov says tough s–t.”

The Park Police would arrest someone that same evening. They arrested Bloomington, Indiana resident Shaun Ray Deaton, 44, on suspicion of this crime. They held Deaton for “allegedly vandalizing the outside base of the Washington Monument with paint,” said the National Park Service in a statement. According to the NPS, Deaton faces charges of trespassing, tampering, and vandalism. There could also be more charges to come as they investigate the incident.

National Park Service conservators and staff began work on removing the graffiti early this morning, Sept. 22. Staff used pressure washers and cleaning solvent to remove the paint from the stone. Currently, it looks like removal efforts are going well. Although one suspect is in custody, the incident is still under investigation.

December 6, 1884, marked the Washington Monument’s completion, after 30 years of construction, complications, and delays. Standing 555 feet high and made of marble, its style references Egyptian obelisks. It honors George Washington, America’s first president.