LEBANON, Mo. —  Racial slurs and profanity were spray painted on a well-known Lebanon landmark.

Tonight, those words are no longer visible after the community turned that negativity upside down.

Hateful words and images could be seen along Lebanon’s famous graffiti tunnel.  But, when a local school teacher took notice, she turned to the community for help.

“This is not something we should keep quiet,” said Lebanon Resident and Teacher Elizabeth Barker.

With the stroke of a brush and the spray of some paint, memories make murals in the form of names and colors.

“This is a long standing tradition,” said Barker.

A Lebanon landmark, the graffiti tunnel lies below where the BNSF Railroad crosses Ginger Road.

“As long as anyone can remember, people have come and spray painted their names,” said Barker.  “It’s a long standing tradition.”

But the peace of this project turned horrid this week, when signs of hatred and racism changed the vibe of the vibrance.

“I saw the “N” word sprayed all over the wall– I saw clansmen hoods, one holding a noose,” said Barker.  “It was really vulgar and disturbing and threatening– and it’s not what my community is about and what my country is about.”

Whited out words of hate erase the negativity left on the walls.

“I was heartbroken and shocked,” said Barker.  “We are a community of love and tolerance and taking care of each other– and we want to project that to the world.”

With the help of Lebanon High School students, wrong is being turned right– but the community isn’t done yet.

“We don’t want to leave it this way,” she said.  “We don’t want it to look like the traditional wall that had to be patched up like this.”

And together, several people in the community will turn the hatred around– so love will prevail.

“Tomorrow when people meet here after the parade, we will share the holiday spirit by putting messages of love on this wall.”

In about eight hours, people donated almost $500 toward restoration of the tunnel.  Anything left after that goes toward the 2018 Lebanon High School Culture Fair, which teaches students the value of diversity and inclusion.

People will gather at the tunnel following the 10 a.m. Lebanon Parade Saturday to paint positive messages.