NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There was heartache and outrage in Elmhurst, Queens on Wednesday, after a Vietnam War memorial was vandalized.
CBS2’s Cory James has more on what’s being done to track down whoever is responsible.
Crews were cleaning the wall and memorial inside Elmhurst Park, where the graffiti was spray-painted. One veteran who saw it said it felt like he was punched in the gut.
“My stomach dropped. I wanted to throw up. I really did,” Navy veteran Michael O’Kane said.
Red letters spelled out offensive terms and ink left behind derogatory symbols, all of it filling O’Kane’s eyes with tears.
“I know a couple guys on that wall,” O’Kane said.
The attack was personal to O’Kane and it was also personal to several other veterans who showed up to the scene, men who put their lives on the line defending our country.
“Imagine being scared 24 hours a day, every day, for two years. We’ve all got problems. I’ve got PTSD,” O’Kane said.
The NYPD spent the afternoon investigating, roping off the area with crime scene tape and gathering evidence in the hope of nailing down leads on the suspect or suspects.
“They should be ashamed of themselves, you know. These people fought for our country and died,” Middle Village resident Claire Hutton said.
“This was done by a bunch of idiots,” City Councilman Bob Holden said.
Holden told CBS2 it was worst act of vandalism that he has ever seen, adding similar incidents have been happening around the neighborhood.
“They desecrated an American flag at another Vietnam vet memorial in Glendale, they pushed over a statue Thursday, and now this,” Holden said.
The vandalism was on a wall that names every Queens veteran who died in Vietnam, people who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.
“It’s bad. It’s really bad. I’d like to get ahold of this guy,” Navy veteran Douglas Williams said.
Police are hoping surveillance cameras in the area help get a description of the suspect or suspects. Anyone with information is asked to contact the NYPD.