Update 9/13 10:30am. Just received an email from reader Dave…
On Saturday, September 15, the Nam Knights of America Motorcycle Club, a U.S. military veteran and law enforcement MC, will provide security at the Vietnam Memorial and the Vietnam Nurses Memorial in Washington, D.C. as part of the larger counter demonstation to that of ANSWER. (www.freestate-nk.org) or (www.namknights.org)
If you are interested in learning more about us, I invite you to come to visit us on Saturday. The bulk of the activity, as you know, will take place between the White House and the Capitol building at the other end of the Mall, but we and the Gather of Eagles organization, feel that we need to cover this flank.
Update 9/13 10:15am. I have been asking you to be in Washington on Saturday to answer the ANSWER mob. I have been reporting on their disruptive plans and die-ins. I’ve reported before on the vandalism at military recruiting centers. They are going to do it again:
A week of events meant to crank up a national demonstration against the war in Iraq is set to begin Saturday, with a 1,000-person “die-in” at the U.S. Capitol led by current and former American troops and accompanied by taps and a mock 21-gun salute. The die-in will be the culmination of a march and rally. Organizers hope the event will spur people in the antiwar movement to move from protesting to performing acts of civil disobedience that “get in the way of the war machine,” said Brian Becker, national coordinator of the ANSWER Coalition, at a news conference yesterday at the National Press Club. The group’s permit with the U.S. Park Police is for 10,000 people, a source said, but ANSWER, which stands for Act Now to Stop War and End Racism, expects tens of thousands, Becker said. More than 1,000 people had signed up on the group’s Web site as of yesterday to lie down at the die-in, he said, which is meant to represent Americans, Iraqis and others who have died in the war. Organizers expect the number to double or triple by Saturday. Daily antiwar events are planned from Saturday through Friday. War opponents are scheduled to go to Washington area military recruitment centers Monday to try to shut them down. War opponents are scheduled to go to Washington area military recruitment centers Monday to try to shut them down…
Enough is enough.
Enough is enough.
Transcript of our report:
Over the weekend, something happened here at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington DC. Something destructive. Something dishonorable. Along the foot of the wall, covering a stretch almost two-thirds of the entire monument, an oily substance was spilled on the panels and paving stones that were built to pay tribute to those who gave their lives on the battlefield.
The National Park Service is investigating. Whatever the substance was, it was potent and corrosive. Huge swaths of the wall have been defaced. This is despicable desecration.
Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund Founder and President Jan C. Scruggs said “While it is unclear what transpired, we are heartened by the response of the veterans’ community and the general public. After 25 years, their connection to The Wall remains as strong as ever, and we appreciate that.”
This vandalism comes on the eve of a massive anti-war protest by radicals who have threatened our national monuments before. Those threats motivated veterans, Rolling Thunder members, and military supporters to organize the first Gathering of Eagles. On Saturday, they’ll be back…to protect the honor of the troops and the sacred monuments and war memorials in the nation’s capital.
We’ll be there. Will you? Go to gatheringofeagles.org for more information.
What the hell is wrong with people in this country? If this is intentional vandalism, the culprit(s) deserve to be named, punished, and shamed before the nation. In so many other similar instances, we have reaped the rotten fruits of tolerance for thugs who have gotten away with substituting harassment, intimidation, and violence for civil debate and political expression.
There were some initial, unofficial explanations that a “cleaning accident” caused the damage. But that information is unreliable. As we noted in our report, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund says an investigation is ongoing:
On Friday, September 7, National Park Service staff and volunteers discovered a light, oily and unidentified substance that was spilled over portions of some of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial’s panels and paving stones, with National Park Service (NPS) preservation and maintenance staff beginning the removal process immediately.
The United States Park Police has begun an investigation into the matter, and that investigation is ongoing. Until this investigation is completed, it is premature to speculate whether any intentional act was committed.
As you can see from our video, the damage is extensive. Could a “cleaning accident” cause this? What did they use? Murphy’s Cleaning Oil? Would something like that eat through the granite etchings? Because that’s what happened to several panels, not just a few. If it is a “cleaning accident,” we need to hear exactly how such a bone-headed thing could happen after 25 years.
Also: If you look here, past volunteers are shown cleaning the wall from top to bottom.
There is no damage on the top of the panels. Strange. The damage we videotaped has the appearance of a substance being thrown and splashed. One panel had distinctive splash marks in an arc at roughly elbow-level…it looked like it was tossed, not dripped or sponged.
If anyone out there has experience working with granite and cleaning substances, please chime in.
*10:03pm Eastern update:* A reader e-mails:
My husband & I own a natural stone fabrication business in Houston.
I have been to the Vietnam War Memorial and if memory serves me it is constructed of black basalt aka black granite. The description of a “light oily” substance and the appearance of the damage might indicate the memorial was defaced using common penetrating oil (think WD-40).
Very few substances will damage granite(s), but thin penetrating oils would do considerable staining. I am confident those responsible for maintenance of the memorial would not have used such a substance. The granite would simply not need “routine” cleaning. At most it might be hosed down with water and possibly scrubbed with mild cleansers every few years but I would hope that this is done by a professional stone restoration company.
Human Events reports:
Anyone who has seen photos or video of the trail of gunk on the black glossy walls would definitely not see it as an accident — but it is true that the circumstances of the spraying are still unknown.
If a particularly twisted individual or group of individuals decided they wanted to deface a national monument that represents some 58,000 fallen warriors, why would they chose a wimpy “light, oily” substance? Wouldn’t you choice a flaming red can of paint? But how this could possibly be an accident?
Col. Harry G. Riley (US Army, Ret.) who is heading up the “Eagles” group — one of the veterans groups coming to Washington to protect the monuments this weekend said “When you see there is some type of a substance on the wall down and on the base for 50 to 60 feet, its pretty hard for me to rationalize how that could be anything other than purposeful…”
“Who ever did this, if they were trying to enrage the Vietnam Veterans, they did,” said Riley. “We have been stomped on and ridiculed and spit on simply because we went when our nation called. It wasn’t that we are pro war — when the nation called we went.”
Vandalism of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial has not occurred since 1989 said Jan Scruggs, who conceived the idea of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall and raised the money to have it built 25 years ago.
“Someone put some lighter fluid on one of the directories on Constitution Avenue, lit a fire, and burned a few pages off,” said Scruggs.
Scruggs who is also founder and president of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund said that there is a belief that the recent vandalism was motivated by “MoveOn.org type of people” but he hopes that no one is accusing them at this point.
“I just can’t image that this was an organized activity or a conspiracy involving more than one deranged person, or that anyone would have done this to score political points for their cause — it would have just the opposite effect.”
If this doesn’t motivate you to come out on Saturday and join the Eagles, I don’t know what will.
On the opposite coast, in San Francisco, look at this evil deed:
The only local monument to a heroic flight attendant from San Francisco killed in the Sept. 11 attacks six years ago is a North Beach mural that vandals have defaced almost beyond recognition.
Betty Ong, 45, who grew up in Chinatown and North Beach, was a flight attendant on American Airlines Flight 11, the first plane hijacked by the terrorists. Just minutes before the plane smashed into the World Trade Center, she quietly contacted authorities and gave a detailed description of the hijackers.
Ong is one of several Chinatown natives depicted in a 200-foot-long, 7-foot-tall mural dedicated to Chinese contributions to American history. Titled “Gold Mountain,” the mural also includes educators and nurses, Edsel Ford Fong, a waiter made famous by the late Chronicle columnist Herb Caen, and Larry Ching, the “Chinese Frank Sinatra,” who was a longtime entertainer at Forbidden City.
Painted by artist Ann Sherry in 1994 on the side of an apartment building on Romolo Place, the mural has been damaged by taggers numerous times. Each time, Sherry, the building’s owners and community volunteers have stepped up to perform touchups – and twice to restore the mural completely.
A section for Ong was added in 2003, when the mural was restored the second time. Graffiti-resistant varnish was added, too. But almost immediately, the mural was tagged again. Sherry patched up the mural, but since January, taggers have struck several more times. Sherry kept returning to make repairs but recently found the damage to be worse than ever before.
“This time, the taggers used paint (mixed) with epoxy that we can’t just wash out or remove. We have to completely redo the mural,” Sherry said. “We started fixing it … but the taggers get angry if you remove their graffiti and they just tried to ruin it.”
I embedded the audio of Betty Ong’s phone call from AA Flight 11 in my 9/11 post yesterday. Listen to it again as you look at the photos of Ong’s desecrated memorial:
Here’s one last example from Billings, Montana, if you’re not angry enough:
Vandals cut down and burned a U.S. flag in front of a Billings retirement home sometime during the night Monday.
On Tuesday morning, the cover of the book of matches used to start the fire was still attached to the partially burned flag in front of Prairie Tower Apartments.
Dave Kessler and his wife, Judy, arrive at the independent retirement home at 725 N. 25th St. each morning about 7, he said Tuesday.
About 8 a.m., some of the residents alerted Judy that the flag was missing, and she found it in the yard, Dave Kessler said.
The apartment building is home to 119 people.
Resident Joe Jonutis took a flag of his own and hung it in the entrance of the building Tuesday afternoon to replace the damaged flag. Jonutis, 87, is a World War II veteran.
Kessler said he thought the vandalism was a political statement.
“I mean, why now? There has been no similar experience from before,” said Kessler, who has handled the maintenance at Prairie Tower for 13 years. He is a Vietnam War veteran.
The flag is flown 24 hours a day and is lighted, he said.
Vandalism. Desecration. Cowardice. Coddling.
Enough is enough.