The New Jersey city of Bayonne has covered up Russian President Vladimir Putin’s name on the September 11th Teardrop Memorial that was gifted to the US by Russia.
The city plans to remove Putin’s name from the 10–story sculpture permanently, once they figure out how to do so without damaging it.
“Anybody who said this is tarnished because it came from Russia — not tarnished. This monument is going no where. We just removed Vladimir,” said Mayor Jimmy Davis, according to a report from NBC New York. “I don’t ever want to hear someone say that this monument has to come down, because they’re going to have to go through me to take this monument down.”
“I directed this action to be taken so that we don’t deface this honoring of the victims and families of 9/11/01, and we show our support with the people of Ukraine,” Davis continued.
The monument is officially called “To the Struggle Against World Terrorism” and was created by Russian artist Zurab Tsereteli.
Putin visited Bayonne and gifted the monument in 2005. He also laid the cornerstone for the memorial, which is a 100-foot bronze tower, split down the middle with a 40-foot nickel-plated teardrop in the center.
“You know that Russia, like America, has been struck by terrorist attacks on a number of occasions,” Putin said in a speech on Sept. 16, 2005, in Bayonne. “This will be an impressive monument, but we should never forget that for all their impressive and grandiose nature, such monuments represent concrete individuals,” Putin said. “(They represent) people who will always live on, not only in stone, not only in monuments, but in our hearts.”
Putin’s name was initially covered with gaffer’s tape in two places, but is now covered by sturdier acrylic boards.
“It’s definitely satisfaction, but I don’t want to take away from the monument,” Tom Cotter, the city’s Department of Public Works director, told NBC. “It’s unfortunate Putin’s name’s on the monument, but I don’t want this to be a Putin thing. I still want this to be a 9/11 monument.”
“Basically what’s happening in Ukraine right now is like a form of terrorism, the invasion of that country,” Cotter said.