‘I just can’t fathom it’: Navy vet who cleans memorial upset by Mt. Soledad skating video

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SAN DIEGO – Retired Navy veteran Robert McCollum is upset, and who could blame him? After 26 years in the military, it feels like a slap in the face.

“I would say, ‘Young man, do you have any brains?’” McCollum said. “Why would you skateboard on these walls of honor?”

McCollum has spent the past seven years of his retirement with a bottle in one hand and a towel in the other, shining the walls of the Mt. Soledad National Veterans Memorial. It is a point of pride for McCollum and many others who travel to the monument each year to honor the men and women listed on plaques lining its walls.

Retired Navy vet Robert McCollum

Earlier this week, a group of skateboarders decided to grind all along it. In a widely shared video, an unidentified man can be seen riding his skateboard across the tops of the curved granite walls while others stand and watch. Video of the incident went viral and McCollum saw it.

“Why anyone would want to skate on these walls of honors is beyond me,” he said. “I just can’t fathom it. In my seven years of coming up here, doing my volunteer work, I’ve never seen anybody skateboard on any of the walls.”

By Friday, security guards were at the memorial making rounds. One guard told FOX 5 they plan to be on location for the next 10 days.

“It’s the first time I’ve ever seen security here,” McCollum said.

Some in the local the skateboard community told FOX 5 the man in the video is a prominent figure in the skating community. Multiple attempts to reach him have been unsuccessful.

McCollum said he doesn’t expect an apology, and when asked if he’d let the skateboarder help clean up, he refused.

“I don’t need no help because no one can clean these walls like I can,” he said.

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