Vandals deface plaques honoring Vietnam veterans

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LA MESA, Calif. – Plaques at the La Mesa Vietnam War Memorial were recently defaced and the community is asking who would do such a thing?

A war memorial dons the names of soldiers from El Cajon, Lemon Grove, Spring Valley, Lakeside and La Mesa. A few days ago, residents in the community discovered two of the plaques on the memorial were nearly unhinged, dangling by one corner.

Ortesta Johnson of Heartland Youth for Decency overlooks the memorial her father built in 1970.

"It's beyond reason. It's beyond comprehension. It's disgusting," Johnson said, pointing out the plaques are not worth enough for thieves to take. "These are not bronze. They are not copper. They are a mixed blend."

This wasn't the first time vandals hit the memorial. Two years ago, two plaques were stolen and new ones were installed a year later.

Eleanor and Clayton Baum were stunned to hear about the destruction of the memorial. Their son Doug was one of the names listed on the plaques.

"I didn't think anyone would do such a thing to a memorial for soldiers," Clayton said.

Regardless of the plaques, the Baums said the most valuable memories are locked away in a place where no one can take them.

"My memories are all in my heart. I know them by heart. I know that God has a beautiful plan coming," said Baum.

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