BENNINGTON, Vt. (AP) – Vandals spray-painted graffiti on the Bennington Battle Monument, a Vermont landmark considered “sacred ground” by some.

“Heroes?” was written in red near the base of the 306-foot obelisk, along with a four-letter word slamming “Bush” and a capital “A” inside a circle, which is the symbol for anarchy.

It was discovered on the monument Thursday.

Police Chief Richard Gauthier said police have identified the responsible parties, but he would not release their names. According to Gauthier, at least two people – one of them a teenager – are expected to be charged.

“I don’t think it was politically motivated. It was more of a spur of the moment type thing,” Gauthier said Tuesday.

The vandalism apparently occurred Wednesday night, he said.

“We just can’t sit back and tolerate something like that when it happens on the people’s property without doing something,” said Town Clerk Timothy Corcoran.

The monument is Vermont’s tallest manmade structure, was built to commemorate the Battle of Bennington in 1777, even though the battle occurred in nearby New York. In it, Gen. John Stark defended supplies from British forces.

In Vermont, Aug. 16 is celebrated as Bennington Battle Day.

“Defacing the monument is a mortal sin in my book and probably that of a lot of other Vermonters,” said state Sen. Vincent Illuzzi, R-Essex-Orleans.

“I don’t care if it’s Valentine’s hearts, it is simply not acceptable,” Illuzzi said. “It’s a national treasure like the Washington Monument that commemorates an equally important, even pivotal role in the Revolutionary War. It’s sacred ground.”

AP-ES-02-19-08 1156EST

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