- A North Carolina museum is accusing vandals of trying to burn a statue of a World War II veteran after mistaking it for a Confederate monument.
- The statue commemorates General William C. Lee, who served in both world wars.
- The museum’s curator, Mark Johnson, told the Dunn Daily Record newspaper he believes the vandal or vandals mistook the statue for a monument to Confederate General Robert E. Lee.
- North Carolina, as in many other states, has seen controversy over Confederate monuments that critics say are heirlooms of racism and slavery.
A statue of a World War II veteran was doused in flammable liquid and vandalized last week by “some jerk punk(s)” who likely mistook the memorial for a Confederate monument, according to a North Carolina museum.
The Major General William C. Lee Airborne Museum in Dunn, North Carolina, commemorates the state’s “famous airborne hero” who led the US Army Airborne Command.
“The U.S. Army Airborne soldier is highly respected world wide. Then comes along some jerk punk (s) and he tries to burn down the statue of WWII Major General William C. Lee….the Father of the United States Airborne Army,” a statement on the museum’s Facebook page said.
Photos attached to the post showed the charred base of the white, marble statue.
“You can see the burn marks in the marble where the jerk placed the remainder of the fuel container on the platform,” the museum’s Facebook post said.
The Dunn Police Department is investigating the incident and offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest, the local CBS affiliate WNCN reported.
The museum’s curator, Mark Johnson, told The Daily Record he suspects that the vandal or vandals believed the statue depicted Robert E. Lee, the Confederate general whose monuments have spurred controversy in recent years.
“So just an alert to people who may be thinking about such things, this is the wrong general,” Johnson said. “Complete different generation, complete different war, complete different everything.”
Johnson did not immediately respond to INSIDER’s request for comment.