A month ago, vandals defaced a San Jose memorial honoring fallen soldiers of the Vietnam War, and community members say the fight to preserve the memorial is not over.
As police continue to hunt for the vandals, the community is trying to prevent the same thing from happening again, with incredible local efforts that stretch from a tech giant to a little girl’s lemonade stand.
The Sons of San Jose memorial contains 142 names of San Jose service members who are missing in action or were killed in combat during the Vietnam War. Vandals defaced one side of the memorial with acid. While it has since been cleaned and has sparked a new level of community activism.
First volunteers restored the memorial. Now, the Sons of San Jose Foundation is raising money to put a protective film over the memorial and install surveillance cameras. And some people in law enforcement are spending their free time looking for the vandals.
"You just don’t think people would do anything like that to a memorial, a place of solace," foundation member Dennis Fernandez said. "There’s eight guys on there that I went to high school with and guys I played sports against."
The effort has sparked donations big and small, from Silicon Valley titans like Google to 8-year-old Bella Delgadillo, who put up a lemonade stand and recently delivered a check for $200 to the foundation.
"That one really warmed our heart," Sandra Fernandez said. "It was incredible. She was just so proud to stand there with us and take pictures and hand us the check."
The foundation needs about $40,000 for the added security measures. It's still about $24,000 short of that goal.