Vietnam War veterans monument defaced with swastikas, graffiti days before Memorial Day
© Massachusetts State Police

Massachusetts State Police are investigating “significant vandalism” to a Vietnam War veterans memorial on property owned by the University of Massachusetts-Boston in Dorchester.

The damage, which police said includes “hate-related” graffiti and destruction of plants and flags surrounding the monument, is believed to have occurred Thursday afternoon, just days before Memorial Day.

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According to photos and a press release from police, the stone monument was defaced with graffiti, including a swastika and the word “Purge.” American flags were also torn out of the ground and cast into a nearby body of water.

“The University of Massachusetts and the Massachusetts State Police condemn this despicable act and are conducting a thorough and coordinated investigation to determine who is responsible and to hold that person or persons accountable,” according to the release.

Local outlet WCVB reported that the vandalism occurred soon after crews finished cleaning up thousands of dollars of damage cause by vandals last fall. The monument, comprised of a number of granite obelisks, lists the names of 80 men killed in action in the Vietnam War.

UMass-Boston interim Chancellor Katherine Newman told WCVB that the university is reviewing footage from a security camera that was installed after the last incident.

"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,” she said.