South Carolina 9/11 Memorial Vandalized, Spray-Painted With Word 'Taliban'

A South Carolina 9/11 memorial was vandalized Saturday night as its two-tower monument were defaced with the spray-painted word of "Taliban."

The memorial was constructed at Upstate Granite Solution, a granite installation company. It included a replica of the north and south towers of the World Trade Center and were surrounded by U.S. flags in remembrance of the 9/11 attacks from 2001.

Vandals reportedly spray-painted the base of the monument and one of the two towers at the memorial installed by the company, WBTW reported.

"We are saddened that someone would attempt to destroy a memorial that was meant to unify our community," the company's CEO, Paul Nichols told Newsweek.

Nichols also said that the company cleaned the monument, but didn't disclose any further details.

Nichols said that the replica was destroyed overnight, according to WBTW.

"We spent the time and money on this monument in order to bring our community together and unite over the memory of those who died on the attacks 20 years ago, as well as, those first responders who willingly laid down their lives to serve others," Nichols said, according to the outlet.

The company's employees reportedly removed the spray paint Sunday morning and filed a police report with the Greenville County Sheriff's Office.

Newsweek contacted the sheriff's office for comment, but didn't receive a response by the time of publishing.

This wasn't the only 9/11 tribute defaced over the past few days leading up to 20th anniversary of the attacks on Saturday. A flag display commemorating the victims of the tragedy was also vandalized in Boston on Thursday. The nearly 3,000 miniature U.S. flags placed the day before in Boston's Public Garden were found broken and strewn across the garden, WCVB reported.

A video posted on Twitter showed the flags uprooted and thrown across the sidewalk along with a trash can near the display that was knocked to the ground.

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

— Josh Brogadir (@JoshBrogadirTV) September 9, 2021

The display was set up by a nonprofit called Project 351, which recreated the garden after it was vandalized.

The organization's founder, Carolyn Casey, said that she was "heartbroken and disappointed" when she learned that the display was ruined. But Casey added that she also felt "gratitude and hope" when she arrived at the display.

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

Meanwhile, a flag display in Riverside, California, to honor the 13 U.S. service members who died last month during an ISIS-led terrorist attack outside a Kabul, Afghanistan, airport was also vandalized. That tribute included 13 U.S. flags and one with the U.S. Marine Corps symbol.

"I think we can all agree, regardless of our political views, that the loss of a service member, let alone 13 in a single attack, is devastating," Riverside Police Department spokesman Officer Ryan Railsback said, the Press Enterprise reported. "These were more than flags; these represented 13 lives and their families."

Update (9/16/2021, 5:45 p.m.): The story was updated to include comments from Paul Nichols, CEO of Upstate Granite Solutions.

South Carolina 9/11 memorial vandalized
Paul Nichols, CEO of Upstate Granite Solution, said that the 9/11 memorial that the company set up in South Carolina was vandalized Saturday night. Above, Julie Sweeney Roth, whose husband Brian Sweeney died when United Airlines flight 175 hit the World Trade Center, attends the National 9/11 Memorial in New York, on September 11. Photo by CRAIG RUTTLE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images