Vandals deface Vietnam war memorialIn my view, desecrating any memorial to our veterans is one of the lowest kinds of acts, MS-13's doing or not.
by News Channel 8's Carolee Salerno
Posted Dec. 30, 2007
Updated 9:20 AM
New Haven (WTNH) _ Veterans are outraged that a war memorial in New Haven has been vandalized.
The Vietnam War Memorial at Long Wharf was spray painted with the threatening words "Kill whites MS 13."
Seeing this just crushed the veterans we spoke to. The names on that wall that are covered in paint, are the names of those who fought and died for this country in the Vietnam War. Tonight, police are investigating whether this is the work of a violent street gang, but the veterans we spoke to, say whoever they are, aren't as tough as they might think.
"This irks me. This hurts me deep to my heart," Vietnam Veteran Emery Linton Sr. said.
Linton looked in disgust at the graffiti covering New Haven County's Vietnam War Memorial at Long Wharf.
Linton, who served in the Army, fought in Vietnam from 1969 to 1972. He lost friends there and he says the mess, on a memorial to honor veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country, is a slap in the face.
"People here respect these names. They gave their lives for everything, for the freedoms they have," Linton said.
Whoever did it sprayed "MS-13" all over the place. According to law enforcement, MS 13 is a violent international gang with roots in El Salvador. Members are involved in drug trafficking, weapons trafficking and even human trafficking and their presence is growing in the U-S. Just this summer, police in the Boston area did a big round-up of MS 13 gang members.
That said, New Haven police say there hasn't been any documented MS-13 activity so far in the city. But they are investigating this incident.
"I don't know who would want to do this," said Lori Grenfell, another veteran who is heart broken over the vandalism. "They have the right to say what they want to say. They can thank these guys for that right."
While it's unclear if these are true gang markings, Linton has a message for those responsible. "If it is a gang related thing and if you guys really think you're bad, join the service, get in the action and see what it's really like," Linton said.
It's unclear how much money it will cost to get rid of this paint, but members of the New Haven County Vietnam Veterans Group vow they will have it cleaned up.
*Correction, with a hat-tip to Raven.