Two veterans groups in Western New York are speaking out about a growing problem at the Vietnam Veterans Monument in Buffalo's Naval Park. It's becoming more common to find people there late at night, drinking and even urinating on the monument.
"It's disgraceful," said Al Brusetti. He's a part of Chapter 77 of Vietnam Veterans of America. "There's no respect. That's all we're asking for is respect."
Brusetti explained the location of the monument (at the far end of the park) and the poor lighting (one set of lights is completely hidden by a tree) both contribute to these problems.
When the monument was built, it had lights shining to the front of the walls. But after renovations to the Naval Park in 2003, the lights were moved behind the walls and since then a tree has grown to block one side from being lit.
Ralph Sirianni helped design some of the artwork for the monument and is currently chairman of WNY Vietnam Veterans Restoration Group. They've been raising money to restore parts of the monument and replace the pavers in front of the wall. He said he often brings cleaner and wipes with him when he visits in order to clean grafitti.
"My initial reaction when I see vandalism on monuments is anger. I'm very upset. And then I'm disappointed."