A New Jersey city has erased Vladimir Putin’s name from a 9/11 memorial that the Russian government gave to the U.S. back in 2005.
On Monday, officials in Bayonne, New Jersey, added an acrylic board to cover the Russian president’s name on the memorial, which is formally called, “To the Struggle Against World Terrorism,” but is also known as the “Teardrop Memorial” and “Tear of Grief.”
The sculpture was a gift from Russia, and Putin visited Bayonne back in 2005 for the groundbreaking on the memorial.
However, after Putin sent troops to invade Ukraine, city officials decided erasing his name from the dedication plaque was a prudent move.
“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 New York. “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.”
Cotter said having Putin’s name on a memorial protesting terrorism isn’t exactly appropriate given current events.
“Basically what’s happening in Ukraine right now is like a form of terrorism, the invasion of that country,” Cotter said.
Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis took credit for the action, saying he made the decision so “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,” according to NJ1015.com.
Davis also said covering Putin’s name is a statement against the president alone and not the Russian people.
“We remain grateful to the Russian people for the memorial. They did not start the war. Mr. Putin did. The memorial will stay in place on our waterfront. It is not going anywhere,” Davis said in a statement.
Davis doesn’t seem to be worried about how Putin might react to being removed from the city’s memorial, mainly because he doesn’t have good memories of the Russian leader.
“In my opinion, he’s probably the coldest human being I’ve ever met,” Davis, who was a police captain at the time of Putin’s visit, told NBC New York.