Flag Display Garden Honoring 9/11 Victims in Boston Vandalized Day After Installation

A display in Boston commemorating the victims of the September 11 attacks was found defaced on Thursday.

On Wednesday, nearly 3,000 miniature American flags had been placed in Boston's Public Garden to honor the victims of the attacks. But on Thursday morning, some of the flags were found broken and strewn across the ground, local news station WCVB reported.

A video posted to Twitter by WCVB reported Josh Brogadir Thursday morning, shows flags that had been uprooted spilling over onto the sidewalk, and a trash can near the display knocked over.

A day after @TeamProject351 volunteers placed 2997 flags in memory of those lost on 9/11, someone pushed many of the flags over in Boston’s Public Garden, broke sticks, dumped trash cans. #WCVB pic.twitter.com/57tvGg4M2Z

— Josh Brogadir (@JoshBrogadirTV) September 9, 2021

Police are investigating the incident as a case of possible vandalism, the Boston Herald reported.

The display was installed by Project 351, a local youth service nonprofit organization. On Wednesday, the organization posted photos to Instagram of its members planting flags in the garden.

"Today, we shared the deep honor to create a Flag Garden of Remembrance in honor of the 2,997 loved ones lost on September 11, 2001. We paid special tribute to the 206 family members, friends, and neighbors from Massachusetts, whom we carry in our hearts always," read the caption.

"We are grateful for the privilege of service with 9.11 family members, 351 champions & Service Heroes, friends from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, and our young leaders. A day of unity, peace, and a commitment to never forget," the post continued.

Later, Brogadir tweeted that people walking by had started picking up the flags and putting them back into place.

9/11 Flag Display Found Vandalized in Boston
A flag display in Boston commemorating the victims of the 9/11 attack was found vandalized on Thursday. Above, an American flag hangs on a piece of steel on a memorial to the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center in front of lower Manhattan and One World Trade Center in New York City on August 16 in Jersey City, New Jersey. Gary Hershorn

Carolyn Casey, the founder of Project 351, said she was "heartbroken and disappointed" to learn the display had been defaced on Thursday.

But the "more powerful emotion" she felt when she arrived at the display was "gratitude and hope."

"Because when I got there, there were already people recreating the garden," Casey said. "It's a reminder that we can choose how to respond to challenge, and to division."

She said that the organization was able to recreate the garden within about 45 minutes, with the help of others.

"And it was a really beautiful, organic coming together of people who were walking through the public garden, or who had seen it on the morning news, and just either jumped in the car or sprinted across the Boston Common and helped recreate the beautiful garden that we had installed yesterday," Casey said.

Ashton Fagan was one of the people who helped pick up flags.

"My grandfather was a firefighter, fought overseas, and all those police officers who go out every single day and put their bodies in front of us to protect us," Fagan told WCVB.

Another passerby in Boston commented on the importance of remembering the 9/11 attacks.

"We can't forget. I'm from Boston originally, but I lived in New York for 20 years, and I was in New York for 9/11. So to remember and to know we're honoring those we lost and those who tried to save people and the families. It's a part of us now," Laurie Matthews told the news station.

This Saturday will mark the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attack, which was carried out by members of the militant group Al-Qaeda. On the day of the attacks, members of Al Qaeda hijacked four planes, including two that crashed into the towers of the World Trade Center in New York City.

Nearly 3,000 people were killed in the attacks on September 11, 2001. A series of events are being held to commemorate the 20th anniversary, including memorial services Saturday at the 9/11 Memorial & Museum in New York City and at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Pennsylvania.

Update 9/9/21, 12:48 p.m. ET: This story was updated with comments from the founder of Project 351.