SAN JOSE, Calif. (KTVU) - A memorial honoring the country’s heroes was vandalized in San Jose sometime Monday morning. The vandal tagged the memorial and broke a glass panel. The memorial is located on Park Avenue and Almaden Boulevard in downtown.
Dave Sanders is filled with heartbreak and sadness after learning the Veterans Memorial of San Jose was vandalized.
“It’s like the American flag to me is priceless, the P.O.W. flag priceless,” said Dave Sanders of San Jose. “A lot of outrage, hurt, bewilderment. We lost a lot of people in Vietnam, 58,000 plus.”
Surrounded by 50 white flags and erected in 1994, the memorial is a commemorative public art installation honoring individuals who served in the five branches of the military.
Police said a vandal with the moniker “Snip” defaced the memorial with what appears to be black spray paint and broke a glass panel around 12:20 a.m. Monday.
Sanders sits on the county's veterans commission lost friends in the Vietnam War. He served as a civil engineer for the U.S. Air Force at just 18 years old.
“We never thought we'd make it this old,” said Sanders. “I never thought I’d live to be 19.”
This isn't the first time a veterans’s memorial has been vandalized in San Jose. Last August, someone defaced the Sons of Vietnam Memorial on West Santa Clara Street in downtown. Tech giant Google stepped up to pay for repairs.
The City sent statement that said in part, “The city's public art staff immediately worked to remove the tag and is in the process of getting a new panel fabricated, and the San Jose Police Department is investigating the incident.”
Sanders has his suspicions on the vandal.
“It’s some wacko young kids that are just vandalizing everything in San Jose,” said Sanders.
He calls the memorial sacred grounds that should be left alone.
“The biggest question is why, why hurt so many people,” said Sanders. “Sacrifices were made by a lot of these people they are not coming back.”
The city's parks and recreation department is in charge of the memorial. The department is working with nearby businesses in hopes to find surveillance video of the culprit. The city said it will cost $6,500 for repairs.