August 22, 2019 #1 Local News, Forum, Information and Event Source for Venice Beach, California.

Missing No More

by Melanie Camp

On Memorial Day, Monday, May 29, Venice neighbors gathered to celebrate the newly restored memorial mural honoring prisoners of war and those missing in action during the Vietnam War.

While the mural is complete, it is one step away from being forever protected. Standing before the crowd, George Francisco who is president of the Venice Chamber of Commerce, announced a few thousand more dollars was needed to preserve the mural and neighbors stepped up. Councilmember Mike Bonin offered $1000, and an extra $500 came from the crowd with people emptying their pockets of whatever cash they had available.

Venice neighbors gathered to celebrate the newly restored mural.

After the impromptu neighborhood fundraising round Francisco told Yo! Venice, “we need roughly $4000 more.” Once raised, the money will allow Venice-based Social Public Art Resource Center (SPARC) to digitally archive the mural meaning no matter what destruction the mural faces in its future history will never be forgotten.

Vandals attacked the mural, at 614 Pacific Avenue in Venice, almost a year to the day. Venice local Stuart Oscars first noticed the graffiti late Wednesday evening on May 25th, 2016. Big, white block letters sprayed over the mural covered hundreds of names.

News went viral, and hundreds of volunteers showed up to help clean the mural. However, while cleaning the graffiti off the mural well-meaning volunteers scrubbed away hundreds of names.

The original mural was completed in 1991 and included the names of 2,273 members of the armed forces counted as prisoners of war or missing in action for the Vietnam War. People missing in action were missing from the wall,” explained SPARC founder Judy Baca.

What followed was a heartening example of what a community can do when neighbors step up and work together. “So many people gave us old photographs, we gathered all the evidence we could and slowly pieced together the missing names,” Baca told Yo! Venice.

Some of the many hands that worked to restore the mural.

Snapchat, SoCal Gas, Councilmember Mike Bonin, and local neighbors all made donations, making the restoration possible. SPARC employees and many volunteers worked for several weeks repainting the mural. The names were painted back in by hand copying the style of mural artist Peter Charles Stewart.

“It was really a moving process because we had few people come up to us and say ‘I’m so glad you brought our names back, our family members names back.’ The entire process was really positive and really powerful,” SPARC Project Manager Carlos Rogel told Yo! Venice.

Standing in awe before the restored mural Stewart Oscars said to Yo! Venice, “in a year all this got done. To me that’s amazing. I can’t believe the amount of people who got together and did this.”

You can contribute to help preserve the mural forever. Donate through the Venice Chamber of Commerce at via their gofundme campaign.

Big, white block letters sprayed over the mural covered hundreds of names.
Related Posts

LAPD Apprehends Bio-Hazard Waste Dumping RV Dwellers

October 12, 2010

October 12, 2010

Earlier today the LAPD Pacific Division apprehended the bio-hazard waste dumping RV dwellers that had remained at large with a...

Happy Fourth Everybody!

July 4, 2014

July 4, 2014

Beach is filling up out there, STAY SAFE! Pictures by Ray Rae! Click here to see more!

Video of Venice Life Town Hall | June 18 2014

July 8, 2014

July 8, 2014

(via Venice Chamber of Commerce’s tweet):

Video: In Defense of the Venice Beach Drum Circle

July 9, 2014

July 9, 2014

Alex Mannone, a 15 year resident, sent in this beautifully shot and produced piece that he created to defend the...

Photos: 4th of July Mr. & Ms Muscle Beach/Venice

July 10, 2014

July 10, 2014

Team VP just pinged us with some photos from last weekend: Bodybuilding legend Chris Dickerson is inducted into the Muscle Beach/Venice...

Trying a New Look at Yo!

July 13, 2014

July 13, 2014

We’re trying out some new things with Yo! This new look should be faster, more readable, and keep some featured...

NPR: At Venice Beach, Rich, Poor And Middle Class Coexist

July 13, 2014

July 13, 2014

A new radio piece from NPR’s “All Things Considered” released today discusses the benefits to economic mobility of living in...

Venice Neighborhood Council Board Meeting 7-14-2014

July 14, 2014

July 14, 2014

VNC Board meeting Westminster Elementary School 7 PM, July 14 2014. The agenda can be downloaded from their site.  

Water Main Breaks (Again) on Carrol Canal

July 15, 2014

July 15, 2014

Nick Antonicello just sent in this photo from the scene where a water main broke last night on the 200...

Venice Story: Free Storage

July 15, 2014

July 15, 2014

The latest installment of Grant Buckerfield’s Venice Stories is up, and it’s a piece about the hotly debated Free Storage Facility,...

Paddle Out for Shogo Kubo | July 19, 2014

July 15, 2014

July 15, 2014

Some images coming in from the event, including this drone shot from Six12 media posted in the forum:  (via Tony Alva...

SANTA MONICA PIER TWILIGHT CONCERTS | YUNA W/ KING + KCRW DJ ANTHONY VALADEZ | JULY 17 2014

July 16, 2014

July 16, 2014

Thursday night’s lineup of the Santa Monica Pier Twilight Concert headlines Yuna, show starts at 7PM: This track from Los...

The Venice Teen Project PAD Relocates

July 19, 2014

July 19, 2014

The Venice Teen Project PAD providing services for young homeless adults ages 18-24 has temporarily relocated to 70 Windward Avenue,...

Cayucas, Papa, and KCRW DJ Chris Muckley | Santa Monica Pier Twilight Concert 7-24-2014

July 23, 2014

July 23, 2014

This should be a good show, with the cool surf-inspired tones of Santa Monica’s Cayucas with Papa and KCRW DJ Chris Muckley....

Lightning Strike Causes Injuries, 1 Death

July 27, 2014

July 27, 2014

We were exiting the 10 Freeway at Lincoln when we heard a MASSIVE thunderclap, which apparently caused a number of...