Pittsburgh War Statue Defaced with Communist Symbolism on Memorial Day

The First World War Memorial named The Doughboy in Lawrenceville, Pittsburgh, was vandalized on Monday before most of nation woke on Memorial Day to honor the men and women of the armed forces who have died while serving their country.

The unwanted markings included the phrase, "June 19, 1986. Glory To The Day Of Heroism" and were accompanied by a number of hammer and sickle symbols, often used in communist ideology, notably the emblem on the Flag of the Soviet Union, and a symbol first adapted during the Russian Revolution.

The phrase used in the graffiti appears to reference a battle that took place between the People's Guerrilla Army and the Peruvian state on the same date. But so far it is unclear as to what is meant by the act of defiance on this public landmark.

Residents were alarmed by the vandalism on Memorial Day morning. Ken Diulus served in the U.S. Navy during the 1980s and spotted the graffiti, "I've lived my whole life here, with the exception of when I was in the service," said Diulus to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, "and I have never seen anything like this."

Pittsburgh Police Tweeted that they were investigating the crime and reviewing video footage in the area.

Pittsburgh Police from Zone 2 are investigating after the WWI War Memorial on Butler Street and Penn Avenue in Lawrenceville was vandalized overnight.

Police are reviewing all available video footage.

The investigation is ongoing. https://t.co/tYZyaJ3V5Z pic.twitter.com/cRpaTI6sq7

— Pittsburgh Police (@PghPolice) May 25, 2020

Arrangements are underway to have the red paint cleaned off the memorial as soon as possible.

It's not the first time this year that American landmarks have been covered in red paint on notable anniversaries. In February, Plymouth Rock, in Massachusetts, was defaced. The monument marks the landing site of the Mayflower, the boat that first transported pilgrims to America, this year marks the 400th anniversary of the event.

Breaking - #Plymouth Rock and Other National Landmarks #Vandalized Last Night in Coordinated Attack.😢America's most cherished, iconic landmark to faith and freedom was targeted last night for desecration and vandalization. #PreserveLandmarks #SaveHistory pic.twitter.com/UVUAJteuh7

— Pilgrim 400th (@pilgrim400th) February 17, 2020

A pilgrim monument was also graffitied in the historic community of Plymouth in February.

We are saddened and sickened by the recent vandalism in our historic town. This is just one of our historic monuments that was hit. We will begin clean up as soon as possible and the police are investigating. pic.twitter.com/kQeTxO7sor

— Melissa Arrighi (@MelissaArrighi) February 17, 2020

Situated on Penn and Butler Streets in Lawrenceville, Pittsburgh's Doughboy is a locally well-known emblem of the neighborhood. It portrays an American infantryman during World War I wearing a Brodie-style helmet carrying ammunition and a rifle on his back.

Doughboy statue in Lawrenceville, Pittsburgh
The Doughboy statue in the Lawrenceville neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA Camerafiend/Wikicommons

The statue was created by sculpted by Allen George Newman out of bronze, and unveiled on Memorial Day in 1921. In 1947, after World War II, the monument was updated with marble and limestone and plaques with the names of 3,100 Pittsburgh's Sixth Ward residents who served in the war. In 1984, those who fought in the Korean War and Vietnam War on plaques around the monument's railings.