VENICE — Charlie Saulenas was here in 1992 when the community dedicated the Vietnam memorial that runs along Pacific Avenue. Now, he is pleading for help to restore it after it was vandalized with graffiti ahead of Memorial Day weekend.
“We can restore it by tomorrow,” he told Breitbart News early Sunday morning. “People have tried painting the letters again in black — but if we use some bright white paint, we can have it back to where it was by tomorrow, better than ever.”
Saulenas, who is originally from Worcester, Massachusetts but joined the Army in California, served in the 9th Artillery regiment in the Mekong Delta.
He told Breitbart News that he saw television reports about what had happened to the memorial, and came down to urge the public to respond. His voice shakes as he describes how hurt he feels that the memorial was defaced.
“I want to help the guy,” he says of the culprit. “Do they need a job? I’ll give them a job. Do they need love?
“Because they don’t know how much this hurts. And to do it right before Memorial Day.”
He adds: “I wonder, haven’t we been hurt enough yet right here in our own country? I mean, it’s so sad and heartbreaking.”
Saulenas is trying to see the positive side — that the mural hadn’t been defaced before. “Don’t forget, this has been up and they haven’t graffitied it in all these years.” He notes that a similar mural near the Veterans Affairs facility in Westwood has remained intact. “They treat it like it’s religion,” he says appreciatively.
He is also optimistic about returning the mural to its former condition. “It wouldn’t take us long at all, if everybody got together, with whatever you need as far as computers and chalk lines and white paint, we could paint all these names back by tomorrow…
“If you’re even a person out there that does graffiti, come help us, paint the new names back on. Nobody will even realize what had been done.”
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. His new e-book, Leadership Secrets of the Kings and Prophets: What the Bible’s Struggles Teach Us About Today, is on sale through Amazon Kindle Direct. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.