Amid the riots following protests over the death of George Floyd, vandals targeted iconic Washington, D.C., monuments celebrating heroes of the American Revolution, the American Civil War, and World War II. The National Park Service shared disturbing images of the vandalism on Sunday.
“In the wake of last night’s demonstrations, there are numerous instances of vandalism to sites around the National Mall. For generations the Mall has been our nation’s premier civic gathering space for non-violent demonstrations, and we ask individuals to carry on that tradition,” the National Parks tweeted.
Monuments defaced included the equestrian statue of Casimir Pulaski in Freedom Plaza. Pulaski (1748-1779) was a Polish cavalry commander who fought and died in the American Revolutionary War. He led a cavalry legion at Haddonfield and Egg Harbor, N.J., Charleston, S.C., and Savannah, Georgia. He was mortally wounded at Savannah and died and was buried at sea at 31 years old.
Vandals wrote “F*ck” on the base of Pulaski’s statue.
They also targeted the Lincoln Memorial — famous as the location where Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his historic “I have a dream” speech. “Y’all not tired yet?” a vandal wrote on one of the marble slabs in front of the monument.
Vandals also targeted the World War II Memorial on the National Mall. Graffiti reading, “Do Black Vets Count?” emerged along the side of the central fountain.
For the record, black veterans very much did count in the World War II memorial’s reckoning of American soldiers who fought and died in the war against Nazism and the Japanese Empire. The insinuation that they did not is disgusting. While the military was tragically segregated during that war, President Harry Truman desegregated it shortly afterward.
In the wake of last night's demonstrations, there are numerous instances of vandalism to sites around the National Mall. For generations the Mall has been our nation’s premier civic gathering space for non-violent demonstrations, and we ask individuals to carry on that tradition. pic.twitter.com/LmIHfW2AHj
— National Mall NPS (@NationalMallNPS) May 31, 2020
It seems rioters would have set fire to the White House if they could. Many lit fires around the iconic home of the president. As PJ Media’s Paula Bolyard reported on Sunday night, rioters burned the historic St. John’s Church near the White House.
.@AP photographers are capturing the scene as protesters start fires near the White House and tensions with police mount during a third straight night of demonstrations.
— The Associated Press (@AP) June 1, 2020
As of Monday morning, police have arrested more than 4,000 people. Governors across the country have activated their states’ National Guards to respond to the riots. As the United States was leaving lockdowns imposed to fight the coronavirus, cities across the country have enforced a new limited kind of lockdown to prevent the destruction. Cities across the country set curfews to stem the violence, including: Minneapolis, Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Denver, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Seattle, Cleveland, Columbus, Portland, Miami, Milwaukee, Salt Lake City, and Rochester.
The police officers who appear to have brutally murdered George Floyd should be held accountable and Americans on both sides of the partisan divide have expressed outrage over his death and solidarity with those demanding justice. But the destruction and vandalism of riots do not help that cause. They merely make Americans scared for the future of our country.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.