9/11 monument builder describes outpouring of support after vandal defaces memorial to Twin Towers
Monument owner says people were ‘outraged’ at 9/11 memorial vandalism
Upstate Granite Solutions CEO Paul Nichols on South Carolina 9/11 memorial getting defaced with the word Taliban.
The Greenville, South Carolina community was outraged over the weekend to find a vandal had spray–painted the word “Taliban” on a stone replica of the World Trade Center erected to commemorate 9/11.
“We had spent probably the last month planning and building these towers, the memorial to show our community that we care, that we want to support those who lost their lives and those who gave their lives to save the lives of so many,” Upstate Granite Solutions CEO Paul Nichols told “Fox & Friends” on Tuesday.
Nichol’s Upstate Granite Solutions is the local business that constructed the granite statues, each weighing 4,000 pounds, with a light beam. The memorial is surrounded by 1,000 American flags to commemorate the 20 years since the Sept. 11 terror attacks.
The words “NEVER FORGET” were displayed in front of the memorial.
Nichols said that the “outpouring of the community was amazing,” attracting families in droves to take pictures at the memorial.
However, the next morning, Nichols was notified of the vandalism.
“On Sunday morning, I received a message from a community member on Facebook saying ‘hey, I think someone vandalized the towers.’ And I was out of town at the time. I had one of my employees go by and check it out and sure enough, he sent me pictures of the words spray-painted on the tower and the base of the monument,” Nichols said.
With footage of the incident reportedly in their possession, police are investigating the vandalism. Nichols said that the vandal parked in broad daylight at 7:30 A.M. in the morning walked up to the monument and then spray-painted it as cars were driving by.
“We don’t really understand why he did it. We’re saddened by it. My heart sank when I saw it but I will tell you what, the response again from the community and even across the country has been amazing,” Nichols said.
Unfortunately, the granite is still “a little damaged,” said Nichols. The color is in the granite because it is a natural stone.
“That’s not going to deter the people from still coming just a few minutes ago. A gentleman who grew up in New York and his dad helped build those towers came by and thanked me for putting that monument together,” Nichols said.
“People are just outraged that someone would do this. But, it’s almost brought us more together because of this person’s actions. Everyone feels the love and what the monument really represents and because of this I have heard from people in the U.K., all across the country, saying thank you we stand together for what that monument represents.”
September 11th, 2021 marked the 20th year since the Sept. 11 attacks.
It’s estimated that 20% of Americans know someone hurt or killed in the attacks and more than 3,000 children lost a parent. Nearly 3,000 people were killed after al Qaeda terrorists hijacked four planes – two of which pulverized the Twin Towers in Manhattan, one which hit the Pentagon and one, United Airlines Flight 93, which never reached its destination after the passengers heroically downed the plane in a field in Shanksville, Pa.
Fox News’ Danielle Wallace contributed to this report.
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