HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Some are calling a tribute to Hawaii's war dead an embarrassment to the state after a lawmaker found homeless people using Hawaii's Korean and Vietnam War Memorial as an open latrine.
Each name etched into the black granite wall represents a life lost in service to the United States.
Extending 100 feet, the Korean and Vietnam War Memorial is place of reflection for hundreds of Hawaii's families.
But lately many of the people who visit don't come to pay their respects.
"The homeless are nesting there and defecating there because it provides a degree of concealment," said state Rep. Bob McDermott, whose district includes Ewa Beach.
McDermott snapped several photos of the monument earlier this week.
"It's human waste. Several piles along with clothing and needles and other trash. It's just terrible," he said.
He added that he returned several days later to see if the memorial had been cleaned up, only to find it had gotten worse.
"This is our capitol. It's our showpiece. If it was done in the elevator you can be sure it would be cleaned up. It's 200 feet away. Why do we miss it," he said.
Edward Richardson, former state adjutant general, said some of those named at the memorial were his friends.
"I was very bothered last night to hear it had deteriorated to a point where's it's become and embarrassment. There needs to be some form of security to ensure that people don't come here and mess it up," he said.
The state Department of Public safety said state Capitol building grounds are regularly patrolled by state deputy sheriffs.
"If deputies find anyone sleeping in a public area, they will offer assistance," DPS said, in a statement. "Most people they have encountered move on voluntarily. Anyone caught in the act of breaking the law will be cited and/or possibly arrested."
On Thursday, McDermott sent a letter to Governor David Ige's office to bring what was happening to his attention. A spokesperson said it hadn't yet arrived at his desk.
By Friday morning, though, the memorial had been cleaned up.