An exhibit in Boston commemorating the victims of the September 11 attacks was found defaced on Thursday.
On Wednesday, nearly 3,000 miniature American flags were 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 on the ground, according to the local news station. WCVB reported.
A video posted to Twitter by WCVB, reported by Josh Brogadir on Thursday morning, shows flags that had been uprooted spilling onto the sidewalk and a dumpster near the overturned screen.
Police are investigating the incident as a case of possible vandalism, the Boston Herald reported.
The exhibit was installed by Project 351, a local non-profit youth service organization. On Wednesday, the organization posted photos on Instagram of its members planting flags in the garden.
“Today we shared the profound honor of creating 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 of Massachusetts, whom we carry in our hearts forever,” the caption read.
“We are grateful to have had the privilege of serving with members of the 9/11 family, 351 champions and heroes of service, friends of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, and our young leaders. A day of unity, peace and commitment to never forget,” the post continued.
Later, Brogadir tweeted that passers-by started picking up the flags and putting them back up.
Carolyn Casey, the founder of Project 351, said she was “sorry and disappointed” to learn the display had been defaced on Thursday.
But “the most powerful emotion” she felt when she arrived at the exhibition 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 division.”
She said the organization was able to recreate the garden in about 45 minutes, with the help of other people.
“And it was a really nice organic gathering of people who were walking around the Public Garden, or had seen it on the morning news, and who either jumped in the car or sprinted across Boston Common and helped recreate the beautiful garden we had installed yesterday,” Casey said.
Ashton Fagan was one of the people who helped collect the flags.
“My grandfather was a firefighter, fought overseas, and all these policemen who come out every day and put their bodies in front of us to protect us,” Fagan told WCVB.
Another Boston passerby commented on the importance of remembering the September 11 attacks.
“We can’t forget. I’m originally from Boston, but I lived in New York for 20 years and was in New York on 9/11. So to remember and know that we honor those we we lost and those who tried to save people and families. It’s part of us now,” Laurie Matthews told the news channel.
This Saturday will mark the 20th anniversary of the September 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, two of which crashed into the towers of the World Trade Center in New York.
Nearly 3,000 people were killed in the September 11, 2001 attacks. A series of events are being held to commemorate the 20th anniversary, including memorial services on Saturday at the 9/11 Memorial & Museum in New York and the Flight 93 National Memorial. in Pennsylvania.
Update 9/9/21, 12:48 PM ET: This story has been updated with comments from the founder of Project 351.