The city of Bayonne has covered Russian dictator Vladimir Putin’s name on the 9/11 memorial in the city that was donated to the U.S. by Russia. The move comes as Russian Federation forces continue to invade Ukraine at Putin’s direction.
The monument, officially known as “To the Struggle Against World Terrorism,” was created by Russian artist Zurab Tsereteli, and was a gift to Bayonne from the people of Russia. Colloquially, many refer to it as the “Teardrop” Memorial.
The ground-breaking ceremony for the memorial took place in 2005, when
Putin visited the site in Bayonne. Former U.S. President Bill Clinton later participated in the monument’s dedication ceremony in 2006.
“Bayonne is home to a beautiful monument commemorating the lives lost on September 11, 2001,” Mayor James Davis said. “This monument, located at the end of the former Military Ocean Terminal, is a reminder for us to never forget the incredible loss of life on that fateful day.”
Not taking the ‘teardrop’ down
The city will not take the monument down. According to Davis, the memorial honors the victims of 9/11 and he did not want to remove it or deface it. He added it was a gift not from Putin, but from the people of Russia, who did not start the war.
“Recently, there has been some discussion on removing the monument because Russian President Vladimir Putin’s name appears on two plaques at the park,” Davis said. “I want to be clear, we will never take down this monument! We have, however, taken steps to cover the name of Putin, due to his recent actions against the people of Ukraine.”
While the monument will not be taken down, the city has decided to cover Putin’s name on it. Thus, the Department of Public Works has placed covers over Putin’s name, both in English and Cyrillic, on two plaques at the memorial. According to Davis, the coverings will not damage the monument.
“I directed this action to be taken so that we don’t deface this honoring of the victims and families of 9/11, and we show our support with the people of Ukraine,” Davis said.
Donations en route to Ukraine
The move is the latest iteration of support for Ukraine in Bayonne, which has a sizeable population of Ukrainians. Over the weekend, the city packed donations collected to send to those affected by the war, which has caused millions of Ukrainians to flee their homes.
“I want to say thank you to all the people who donated to help the people of Ukraine,” Davis said on March 13. “We had a nice volunteer effort to pack up all the donations to get them ready to be shipped.”
In addition to the donation drive, the community has been holding prayer gatherings, a candlelight vigil, and even a benefit concert held by the Board of Education featuring the Ukrainian Chorus “Dumka” of New York. Bayonne continues to rally around Ukraine as Russian forces decimate the country on their push to the Ukrainian capitol of Kyiv.
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