It’s hard to serve in any war – sacrificing all that is safe and familiar for the discomfort and horror of the unknown, but serving in a war reviled by your peers who cast you as a “baby killer” is a special nightmare reserved for the men – and a few women, who went to Vietnam in the era of Woodstock.

Over 2.7 million American military personnel served on active duty during the Vietnam Era, usually dated from August 1964 through May 1975.

Most came back, many with unseen wounds of PTSD, but 58,195 made what Abraham Lincoln called “the last full measure of devotion,” in the swampy underbrush of Vietnam.

Over 60 percent of those who died were 21-years-old or younger.

Over 12,000 were less than 20-years-old.

Five were only 16 years-olds who lied about their age to serve.

The highest death rate was sustained by West Virginians.

Today, 2,400 remain missing in action nearly 40 years after the last American troops left southeast Asia.

Those American “MIAs” are often represented by the black and white flags of those who keep their memory alive beyond the family and friends who still mourn and… hope.

But today, on the Sunday of this Memorial Day weekend, vandals desecrated a mural in Los Angeles painted by a Vietnam Era veteran in 1992 in remembrance of 2, 273 “MIAs.”

The words, “You are not forgotten,” were covered with graffiti.

“The bad guys are not going to win. We are going to repair the wall. These guys gave their lives so that we can have what we have today, and I refuse for them to be disrespected,” said one Los Angeles resident who volunteered to clean the mural.

George Francisco, vice president of the Venice Chamber of Commerce, called the vandals “ignorant.”

 “It’s a desecration of a tribute to people who went off a very unpopular war, and never came back.



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