Skateboards blamed for damaging Vietnam Memorial in Philadelphia

    For 22 years the Philadelphia Vietnam Veterans Memorial on Spruce and Front Streets has attracted people paying respect to those who died in the war. Recently it has also attracted skateboarders who have damaged it.
    For 22 years the Philadelphia Vietnam Veterans Memorial on Spruce and Front Streets has attracted people paying respect to those who died in the war. Recently it has also attracted skateboarders who have damaged it.

    Memorial custodian Jim Moran always carries two things in his pocket: his brother's dogtag, and the first piece of granite that chipped off the Memorial's wall.
    Memorial custodian Jim Moran always carries two things in his pocket: his brother's dog tag, and the first piece of granite that chipped off the Memorial's wall.

    For 22 years the Philadelphia Vietnam Veterans Memorial on Spruce and Front Streets has attracted people paying respect to those who died in the war. Recently it has also attracted skateboarders who have damaged it. Now custodian Jim Moran says there are dozens of chips in the wall. “See this here? We never had this. All we had was one little chip down there. Now it’s the whole name wall.”

    Jim Moran and John Scott McAllister inspect the Vietnam Veterans Memorial for damage
    Jim Moran and John Scott McAllister inspect the Vietnam Veterans Memorial for damage

    Moran says the past six months have seen a surge in skate-related damage. About six blocks away is a prominent skate shop where manager Jeremy Miller hears about illegal skateboarding from customers.  Miller says he’s never heard of anyone skating at the Memorial “They’re getting kicked out of Love Park or City Hall, up at the colleges they are getting the boot up there. Kids will go try it, get kicked out, then come back down here.”

    With new security cameras around the memorial, a small number of skateboarders have been identified as vandals. They could face felony charges of desecrating a memorial.

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