Vietnam War Memorial in Massachusetts vandalized days before Memorial Day

A Vietnam War memorial in Boston has been vandalized.

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Massachusetts State Police said they are investigating an incident of "significant" vandalism on the Vietnam War Memorial in Dorchester.

Officials say several dozen recent plantings of shrubs and flowers were torn out of the ground, flags were ripped down and thrown into a wooded area, and hate-related graffiti -- including a swastika -- were written on the stone monuments.

Police believe the vandalism happened early Thursday afternoon.

Tom Cunningham is sick to his stomach. His brother Robert J. Cunningham is one of 80 local men killed in Vietnam and remembered here. Tom rushed down to the memorial after hearing it was desecrated.

"Now it seems like you gotta camp out here to make sure people aren't going to destroy it," said Cunningham.

UMass Boston, which owns and maintains the memorial, says it is horrified by the vandalism.

"UMass Boston is very proud of the veteran community on our campus and in the neighborhoods around us. I am horrified at this callous act of vandalism and saddened for those veterans who are listed on the monument and their families who are still here with us. We recently installed a camera at the site after a previous vandalism incident. We're reviewing the footage and will help the investigation in any way we can."- UMass Boston Interim Chancellor Katherine Newman

This same memorial was vandalized back in October. Then, police say bricks were thrown at the stone and flags were ripped.

After that incident, UMass Boston installed a security camera at the site.

That security camera was able to pick up the person police believe is responsible for Thursday's incident.

Anyone with information on the incident is asked to call State Police at (617) 740-7710 or university police at (617) 287-6084.

Other memorials in the city have been vandalized recently. In March, vandals hit the World War II Memorial in South Boston, as well as churches in Dorchester and Hyde Park.

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