By Maria Cid Medina

SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) – Police in the South Bay are investigating the shocking vandalism of a San Jose monument dedicated to local Vietnam War veterans over the weekend.

The graffiti attack was discovered Saturday, the same day Vietnam War veteran and POW Sen. John McCain passed away after a battle with brain cancer.

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Veteran and President of the San Jose Vietnam War Memorial Foundation Dennis Fernandez served in the U.S. Army during the conflict, spending 12 months in Vietnam during the war.

Some of his friends never made it back home.

“I was in the 82nd Infantry,” said Fernandez. “So I did my time there and obviously lost a few close friends.”

The names of eight soldiers killed in action who Fernandez went to high school with are etched on the monument located on Santa Clara Street along with dozens of others from San Jose who served in the war.

The monument known as the “Sons of San Jose” was defaced over the weekend with white paint.

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“There should be more respect for monuments such as this. These men sacrificed their life and they deserve all the respect,” said Sandra Fernandez, Dennis Fernandez’s wife and the CFO of the Vietnam War Memorial Foundation.

The monument took a half a decade and nearly a half million dollars in donations to build.

In 2013, the granite memorial was unveiled.

“We were so elated. And for some of the families who had their loved ones on the wall, to see them and for them to go up and be able to touch the wall. And, you know, they don’t have to go to Washington D.C. to have that happen.”

Volunteers who were cleaning the monument said they were concerned the substance used may have permanently marked the granite.

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The memorial has been targeted by vandals before. Several years ago, red paint was splashed across the back of the monument. The culprit in that vandalism was never found.