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Veterans press on with celebration plans despite damage done to Vietnam memorial in Reading

By Jennifer Joas, Reporter, JJoas@wfmz.com
Published On: Dec 24 2013 06:29:19 AM CST
Updated On: Sep 17 2013 05:09:23 PM CDT

Veterans in Berks County are just days away from celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Vietnam War memorial in Reading's City Park.

READING, Pa. -

Veterans in Berks County are just days away from celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Vietnam War memorial in Reading's City Park, but their efforts to refurbish the memorial have suffered another setback.

"The wax they put on the steps, it almost looks like it's burnt. To take that off, again it's time consuming and very expensive," said Bernie Bingham, president, Berks County Chapter 131, Vietnam Veterans of America.

The Berks County Vietnam Memorial Commission recently refurbished the monument for its 25th anniversary, but just days later, members found more damage. 

Bingham said he believes young skateboarders are to blame.

"Where else do they have to a nice straight edge to do their skateboarding," Bingham said. "But you know, they need to find something else. Or the city, they refurbished the kids park over here, and they didn't allow for anything like that."

The commission may not be able to fix the most recent damage in time for the anniversary celebration on Sunday, but it's pleading with skateboarders to stop using the memorial steps. 

Still, veterans said the damage won't ruin their celebration on Sunday.

"It's about the names on that wall. It's about that stone, period. It's not about anything else but those names and that stone," Bingham said. "We have to remember our past. We have to, and this is a way we remember it."

Veterans will gather to celebrate the memorial's 25th anniversary on Sunday at 1 p.m.

In the meantime, police said officers will be monitoring City Park more closely and that those responsible for any vandalism will be be charged and prosecuted.

Anyone with information about the damage done to the memorial can call Crime Alert Berks County at 877-373-9913.