(WMC-TV) - Thousands of drivers making the morning commute Friday were subject to an unusual and illegal call to action.
"Save America -- Start A Revolution."
While freedom of speech is a constitutional right, spray painting one's beliefs on public signage is not.
In addition to the Panda, the painting, and the painter, the massive Overton Park sign that stands where Sam Cooper Boulevard hits East Parkway included graffiti as of Friday morning.
With an estimated 100,000 cars passing the sign each day, Memphis residents were angry to see it had been defaced overnight.
"Yeah, it does make me angry. I like that sign," said one passerby.
"It makes me feel bad that we ain't got enough sense to save our own property in Memphis, to make it look good," said another.
The panda, the painter, and the painting have claimed that intersection for nearly a decade.
"Defacing property like this is just uncalled for," said art student Taylor Thomas. "Art is a good way to get out a message ... I do not consider this in any way art."
John Carroll runs Choose 901, an organization promoting the good things Memphis has to offer. He suspects that the spray painting of the sign incited civic pride.
"It's exciting that there are people in Memphis who care," he said. "It's good that thousands of people were upset today."
He continued, "They had pride in their city, pride in that sign, pride in what it is communicating."
Pride, not only in Overton Parks' perks, but the rest of 901, too.
Park officials used solvents to erase the spray paint without damaging the sign.
They do not know who did it. Technically, the graffiti qualifies as vandalism, but prosecuting the responsible party would prove difficult since they were not caught in the act.
730 North Summit Street