Did you know there was a Vietnam memorial in San Francisco? Neither, really, did Stanley Roberts, but he got called in to do a "People Behaving Badly" segment for KRON 4 by local legend and singer Country Joe McDonald who helped get the plaque installed at Justin Herman Plaza in 2001, showing the names of the 163 San Francisco residents who died in the Vietnam War. McDonald shows Roberts how taggers routinely deface the plaque, and even though he makes the liberal caveat "I'm not a big anti-tag guy," McDonald is still upset about the fact that this particular memorial keeps getting vandalized. "To tag this thing is just the lowest of the low, man. It shouldn't be done," he says.
The concrete around it is also weathering and wearing away, and Roberts highlights how people have stubbed their cigarettes out around it.
McDonald's solution is to have the plaque relocated to the newly refurbished War Memorial Veterans Building at Civic Center, but as Roberts says, "In San Francisco, that is easier said than done."
You may know McDonald's most famous song with his band Country Joe and the Fish, which is the satiric anti-war rag titled "The 'Fish' Cheer/I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-to-Die Rag," which you can hear the band performing at Woodstock in the clip below.
Incidentally, McDonald is also featured in this new documentary about Janis Joplin, telling the story about the time she once accidentally took 68 hits of acid.