The memorial was dedicated to Gold Star Families, whose loved ones were killed in combat.
Court Bradbury is a Vietnam veteran with the American Legion in Auburn. He said, along with red and white tagging, someone spray-painted an offensive word.
"It's a slap in their face that somebody would do this because it means so much to them," Bradbury said.
The spray paint has been on the memorial for a couple of weeks and has since been pressure washed.
The county owns the land where the memorial sits and park administrator Andy Fisher said officials have been working to not only restore the memorial but also to help prevent it from getting damaged again.
Bradbury said the vandalism was not the first time they have had to protect the memorial.
"If you look real close you can see the skateboard marks," he said.
They have added potted plants to prevent skateboarders from riding over the gold star.
Although local veterans do not think the vandalism was meant to target them, they called it "a slap in the face" to families who have lost loved ones.
The American Legion is preparing for its Veterans Day events to be held next week. They are making sure the graffiti is cleaned up before then.
"If there's a silver lining to this story maybe it is to teach people about the significance of that star," Fisher said. "That it was dedicated to the families whose children made the ultimate sacrifice."