A mural in Venice, California, honoring Vietnam veterans was destroyed ahead of Memorial Day, leaving residents outraged.
"The wall represents a significant part of our history," Stewart Oscars, a Venice resident who has driven by the mural every day for 20 years, said.
Cleanup was planned Sunday after extensive graffiti, with a thick sheen of silver paint, covered the mural that stood in the same place untouched since 1992 on Pacific Avenue near Sunset Court.
"The more I think about it, why did this happen right at Memorial Day weekend?" Oscars lamented.
Dozens of volunteers showed up Sunday morning to help remove the thick layers of paint, which covered most of the 2,273 names. Each one is a missing Vietnam veteran.
"They're angry. They're idiots. They're criminals," Oscars said. "I don't know what the motivation is."
City Council Member Mike Bonin said he wanted the mural restored as soon as possible, adding "vandalizing a monument to brave men and women who served our country in a time of war is a disgusting act."
LA County Sheriff's Department investigators showed up Saturday night to assess the wall and take pictures.
They noted the restoration would not be easy, and trying to "blast" it off the wall may remove key parts of the mural.
"This is a big deal for our country, community," Louie Abeyta, a Los Angeles County Firefighter, said. "Everyone will see it. We gotta do something about it."
This mural is on MTA property, and officials are taking steps to professionally restore the artwork.