VISTA, Calif. (KGTV) -- Hundreds of Vista residents are sharing their disappointment after vandals struck Veterans Memorial Park.
Just one look and 61-year Vista resident Don Bartletti fell in love with the local park.
"I love the tranquility of the landscaping, the walkways, the trees, the sound of the fountain," Bartletti said.
He visits once a month to reflect on his own time in the military and to pay his respects to the son of a family friend: fallen local Vietnam War hero, Ernie Pinamonti.
"I didn't know him, but everything that Pinamonti did, I did. I wrote letters home as often as possible, and so did he," Bartletti said.
But last Wednesday, Bartletti saw a different landscape. The faux rock structures surrounding the memorial were covered in paint and graffiti again.
"It was a double insult that somebody would come and deface something that beautiful in my city, hit me right in the heart," Bartletti said.
Bartletti immediately reported it to the City of Vista. According to a city spokesperson, all vandalism is cleaned up by the Public Works Graffiti Crew within 48 hours of reporting. But because this park is privately owned, the park property owner must undertake the clean-up efforts and all costs.
Bartletti said every day that the park remains defaced, he gets choked up. He said, as disheartening as this is, he is hoping to meet the vandals to have a conversation.
"Maybe if they heard my point of you, maybe if they heard how much that hurts me, maybe they would, maybe, maybe they would go back to their parents and say, 'You know mom and dad? I was wrong,'" Bartletti said, tearing up.
Bartletti hopes to connect the park owners with a power washing company that can hopefully donate their services.