Low Hanging Fruit

Several months ago, I attended a speech given by Paul Gramling, the commander-in-chief of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, to the Northeast Louisiana Brigade of the SCV at the Lieutenant Elijah H. Ward Camp in Farmerville, Louisiana. In his oration, Mr. Gramling declared that the hoopla about removing the Confederate monuments was not really about the Confederate monuments. “We are just the low-hanging fruit,” he declared. He stressed that the attacks were just part of a neo-Marxist attack upon traditional American values.

After I returned home, I contemplated Commander Gramling’s poignant remarks. It occurred to me that he was right and that the political Left in the United States wants no heroes except its own. The statues of the Confederate leaders and their men, in fact, were not the first targets. That dates back to the 1950s when they began their full-scale assault on the presence of God and Jesus Christ in the public square.[1] They, unfortunately, have been remarkably successful in this phase of their endeavor. How has this success manifested itself? In the late 1950s, a survey was conducted to determine the worst problems faced by teachers in public schools. The Big Three challenges were: children talking too loudly; children chewing gum in class; and children running in the halls.

Using judicial activism, dubious logic, cowardly politicians, and corrupt and incredibly biased judges, the Leftists have largely succeeded in ousting Christianity from the schools. What is the result of their success? What are the three biggest problems faced by teachers today? Teenage pregnancy, drug abuse, and violence in the institutions of higher education, including occasional mass shooting. That, however, is the subject for another time. The issue I would like to address today is: What are their next targets?

The activist Left and the Hate-America-First crowd are like a poor boxer. They always telegraph their punches. Their next targets are clear: any hero who is not of the Left must be removed from public consciousness, banished from textbooks at all levels, and purged from our historical memory. Because morality is no longer taught in the educational system, we have raised a crop of thugs who believe the ends justify the means. They deem it okay to violate the law and the rights of other people to achieve their vaguely defined goals. Therefore, using Leftist logic, they believe there is nothing wrong with destroying public property, defacing monuments, or even desecrating graves. Over the course of a few months, I assembled a list of their assaults on our collective historical memory. Please note that none of these examples involve Confederates.

The World War II and Vietnam Veterans’ Memorials in Albany, Georgia was vandalized and spray painted black. The memorials was defaced twice in two years.[2]

A monument dedicated to Troy Nealey was vandalized in Eaton Rapids, Michigan. It featured a depiction of a veteran’s boots and an upright gun, which was broken off and left on the ground. Nealey was a lance corporal in the U.S. Marines when he was killed in action during Operation Iraqi Freedom. He was 24 years old.[3]

The Viet Nam War Memorial in Los Angeles was defaced by vandals.[4]

The Viet Nam War Memorial in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts, was vandalized with hateful graffiti and swastikas. The memorial is on a space owned by the University of Massachusetts Boston. It was not the first time the monument was vandalized.[5]

The World War I Memorial in Adams County, Massachusetts, was vandalized.[6]

Going on a spree, thugs vandalized the World War I Liberty Memorial in Kansas City. They also vandalized the Calvary Temple Church, Saint John Avenue, and Concourse Park under the Gladstone Bridge.[7]

The Red Oak Cemetery, South Fulton, Georgia, was desecrated.[8] Tombstones dating back to the 1800s were kicked over. They included the graves of many veterans and prominent historical figures, as well as lesser-known people.

The statue of Revolutionary War hero General Nathanael Greene in Savannah, Georgia, was defaced.[9] General Greene was a native of Rhode Island.

The Peace Memorial in Piedmont Park, Atlanta, Georgia, was defaced during a violent protest by Leftists.[10]

A bill has been introduced in the Virginia legislature to remove the statue of former Governor and U.S. Senator Harry F. Byrd because he was a segregationist.[11]

In Montgomery County, Maryland, a boy who appeared to be about seven years old donated a “thin blue line” flag to a Germantown police station in recognition of First Responders’ Day. A Leftist county executive banned the flag. The Leftist activist charged that the flag was a symbol used by white supremacists and might offend the Black Lies Matter (a/k/a Black Lives Matter) Movement.[12] Police, after all, tend to restrain Leftists and out-of-control protestors from carrying out their agenda of hatred. They are therefore fit subjects of derision and hatred. To the credit of the community, Thin Blue Line flags have been popping up all over the county since news of the incident became public.

The Soldiers’ Memorial in downtown St. Louis was vandalized and desecrated.[13] The thugs also sprayed painted “God is Gay” on the statues.[14]

In Charlottesville, Virginia, the Leftist City Council has voted to remove the Lewis, Clark and Sacagawea statue.

Criminals vandalized and knocked over the World War I Memorial in Grant Beach Park, Springfield, Missouri. It weighed a ton.[15]

The newly dedicated Viet Nam Veterans Memorial in Veterans Memorial Park, Boise, Idaho, was vandalized. Someone pried six medallions off the face of the black granite memorial. One of the emblems represented the Vietnam Veterans of America organization and took six months to create. The other five represented each branch of the armed forces. “I was sick to my stomach when I saw it,” J. D. Poss, the president of the veterans group, remarked.[16]

The September 11 and World War II Memorials in Geneva, New York, were defaced by a spray painter. A suspect was arrested and charged with a felony.[17]

The World War II Memorial in South Boston, Massachusetts was vandalized. Some type of oil was splashed or poured onto the granite memorial stones. The stones bare the names of more than 200 local residents who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. “It’s like kicking gravestones over,” a resident declared. He used baking soda to try to remove the oil, apparently with limited success. “I know he’d be heartbroken, Corey Morrissey-Scott said, referring to her father, who was honored on one of the stones. To do this “to any memorial, it’s just evil,” Morrissey-Scott declared.[18]

Meanwhile, the monument to Prospector Pete, a 49er, was deemed offensive and moved by California State University Long Beach to a less prominent location.

In Philadelphia, the statue of Thorfinn Karlsefni, a Viking explorer, was toppled, dragged to the Schuylkill River, and tossed it. Its head was also knocked off.[19] It had been in place for nearly a century. The statue had been the target of “anti-white Nationalist” demonstrators in the past.

In Fall River, Massachusetts, elm trees planted to honor three fallen local soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, were destroyed by vandals.[20]

Meanwhile, Vermont abolished Columbus Day. It has also been abolished in Hawaii, Maine, New Mexico, Alaska, Minnesota, and Oregon. Some of these states have renamed the holiday “Indigenous People’s Day.”

The Kate Smith statue had been removed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania because one of her 1939 songs was considered racially insensitive by today’s standards. Known as “Miss Patriotism” during World War II, the opera singer raised $600,000 in war bonds and travelled 520,000 miles to entertain the troops, thus helping combat Hitler and his “Master Race.” She donated royalties of “God Bless America” to Girl and Boy Scouts and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Her song was banned by the Philadelphia Flyers and the New York Yankees, a ban her niece denounced as “cowardly,” and Yankee fans are threatening a boycott of the team over the incident. A veterans group in New Jersey wants to give the Philadelphia statue a new home in their town.[21]

The Theodore Roosevelt Monument at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City has been “contextualized.” The city commission split on the issue of removing it altogether. The monument has been protested against and defaced.[22]

A Native American student group at the University of Wisconsin-Madison recently protested the Abraham Lincoln statue because “He Owned Slaves.” They thus demonstrated their own colossal ignorance because Lincoln never owned a slave in his life, although he did declare millions of them emancipated. The demonstrators also called for the erection of a disclaimer “contextualizing” the statue because Lincoln was complicit in the murder of Native Americans. Here, of course, they are closer to the mark, historically speaking, but they still fail to consider the context of the times. “The anti-statue crusade thrives on shallow 21st-century moralizing . . .” author Jarrett Stepman writes, “But the iconoclasts do not just see Confederates or Christopher Columbus or Lincoln as problematic. The movement is about more than these individuals. It’s an attempt to delegitimize and erase the very foundation of our civilization, which to them, is irreparably flawed.”[23]

Legislators in Massachusetts have proposed changing the state flag because, they say, it symbolizes white terrorism of Native Americans. Some 50 cities and towns across the state are considering resolutions supporting the change because the flag is somehow “offensive.”[24]

The leaders of the Christ [Episcopal] Church in Alexandria, Virginia, decided to remove a 150-year-old marble plaque honoring slave owner George Washington. The plaque was on the pew where the Father of Our Country sat when he worshipped there.[25] So far, as far as I know, there have been no demands to rename Washington state or Washington, D.C.    

The Nike corporation’s scrapping of its Betsy Ross shoe is well known. The shoe featured an early American flag, which an unsuccessful, washed-up NFL quarterback found offensive.[26]

The Christopher Columbus statue in Providence, Rhode Island, was vandalized again on November 24, 2019. The city government is currently considering removing it. [27]

English students at the University of Pennsylvania ripped a portrait of Shakespeare off the wall and replaced it with a relatively obscure black lesbian feminist activist from the 1960s who wrote poetry[28] and whined a lot.

Santa Barbara City College (SBCC) board of trustees voted to ditch the Pledge of Allegiance because of the U.S. history of its “white nationalism” roots. The president of the board also noted that there was a problem with the phrase “under God,” which implies belief in a higher power.[29]

Stanford University fraternity Sigma Chi was denounced by an administration official because it had a U.S. flag in front of the frat house. The flag, he said, was “offensive.” The frat responded by raising a larger flag. The fraternity has since been shut down by the university.[30]

Mayor Sissi Bruch of Port Angeles, Pennsylvania, asked the City Council’s authorization to remove the silhouettes of military figures with guns from a security fence at Veterans Memorial Park. She claims there have been numerous complaints about the “offensive” images. The security fence, which protects a replica of the Liberty Bell (which was damaged by vandals), was purchased using private donations.[31] 

Plans are afoot in San Antonio to remove the Alamo Cenotaph from Alamo Plaza. The beautiful Cenotaph is 60 feet high, 40 feet long, and 12 feet wide. The San Antonio City Council voted 10 to 1 to move it, but the Texas Freedom Force (TITFT), a state-wide group of patriots, is opposing the move. City officials offered to meet with TITFT leaders, but the group’s leader made it clear that he did not trust the government representatives “as far as I can throw them.” This city “has a reputation for removing statues in the middle of the night,” he declared.[32]

The University of Virginia is considering taking down the statue of American Revolutionary War hero George Rogers Clark because it depicts what is possibly an attack on Native Americans. The statue was added to the National Register for Historic Places in 1997 because it is an “important at object [that] retains its historic integrity of location, design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling and association.”[33] It was defaced with red paint and partially covered by a tarpaulin. The leftist Charlotte City Council passed a resolution calling for its removal.

Three vandals damaged the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument in Cleveland, Ohio, by climbing the Public Square landmark and breaking off part of it. Erected in 1894, it commemorates 9,000 Cuyahoga County residents (Yankees) who served in the Civil War. The people charged in this case were from Vermont and New Jersey. In an earlier incident, three other men were sentenced to community service and ordered to pay more than $10,000 in damages in similar circumstances. These three were charged with a Federal felony.[34] In other efforts, Leftist agitators proposed making the Alamo a United Nations’ World Heritage Site, in order to “contextualize” it, i.e., they do not like the defenders of the Alamo portrayed as the heroes they were.   

At Veterans Memorial Park in Pensacola, Florida, the Purple Heart Monument was toppled, broken, and defaced.[35] The Marine Corps Commemorative Bench and the Vietnam Veterans’ Wall South were destroyed earlier.[36]

The statue of Chief Master Sergeant Richard Hall, Jr., in the Hannibal Square Heritage Center in Winter Park, Florida, was smashed. This war hero was a Tuskegee Airman and one of about 1,000 African-American pilots and 15,000 ground personnel who served in the “Red Tails.” The Crealde School of Art, two private art and cultural foundations, and private donors immediately raised funds to restore the statue, which has since been repaired.[37]

A Victory over Japan Day World War II memorial in Sarasota, Florida, was vandalized with red paint.[38]

UPDATE: since this article was accepted by the Abbeville Institute, the leftist vandals have continued their unrelenting assault on American history. Plymouth Rock, four Scallop Roll statues, and other monuments have been vandalized and the statue of a police officer at the September 11 memorial has been smashed.[39] 

There are other examples that could be listed, and I am sure that the readers of the Abbeville Institute could cite examples I have overlooked or omitted, but I believe I have made my points. Once you start vandalizing and removing monuments, there is no end to it. And what happens after all the statues are down and all of the heroes’ graves are desecrated? To the Evangeleftist, it never ends. They will not stop until they achieve a perfect society, like Venezuela. (Too bad there isn’t a sarcastic font.) I predict they’ll go after books they consider “offensive” and “divisive.” Purging libraries and book burnings are about their speed. That’s what their intellectual cousins, such as the Jacobins, the Red Guard of Chairman Mao, the Nazis, and others, did. Such people cannot be compromised with. They can only be surrendered to or defeated. I recommend the latter.


[1] In my opinion, this puts the Rebel soldier in the greatest possible company: God, Jesus, and the Confederate soldier.  But I digress.

[2] “$2,000 Reward Offered in Albany War Monuments Vandalism,” WALB, May 26, 2014, undated July 2, 2014.

[3] Kara Berg, “Reward Offered for Information on Vandalism of Monument Honoring Local Marine,”Lansing State Journal, January 10, 2020. https://www.lansingstatejournal.com/story/news/2020/01/10/veteran-monument-vandalized-marine-iraq-nealey-eaton-rapids/4429895002/?fbclid=IwAR3Pv_twRBfTCKT2hfeC3Ypq4vOY7jp1AocQ_i5iVlXEWMRtu9sledP16SQ

[4] https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/vietnam-wall-graffiti/

[5] Madeline Holcumbe, CNN, “A Vietnam Veterans Memorial was Vandalized . . .” https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/24/us/vietnam-veteran-memorial-vandalism/index.html

[6] Peter Eliopoulos, “Police Investigating Vandalized World War I Memorial,” April 9, 2019 https://www.news10.com/news/local-news/police-investigating-vandalized-world-war-i-memorial/

[7] Vandana Rambaran, “Kansas City World War I Memorial Vandalized with Spray Paint,” Fox News, June 19, 2009.

[8] CBS46 “South Fulton Cemetery Vandalized, Again,” https://www.cbs46.com/news/south-fulton-cemetery-vandalized-again/article_7d1b9c94-9dd0-11e9-aeb7-0f622a5ac9a7.html

[9] https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/vandalism-revolutionary-war-statue-googly-eyes-prompts-police-probe-n920211

[10] https://www.11alive.com/article/news/local/atlantas-peace-monument-defaced-sunday-night-during-charlottesville-protests/464097389

[11] https://www.fredericksburg.com/opinion/editorial-battle-of-the-statues-will-not-end-well/article_ecb5bf83-d58d-5084-9e8c-8355e9c3aaab.html?fbclid=IwAR0HYpJVP3j07zucChFq-_xo-mjI2uHd91lR2m7VprSfAfUClZ7d_oTlItE

[12] https://www.cbsnews.com/news/thin-blue-line-flag-ban-at-germantown-maryland-police-station-criticized-by-gov-larry-hogan/

[13] Bryce Gray, “Soldiers Memorial vandalized in downtown St. Louis,” St. Louis Post Dispatch, Jan 6, 2020.

[14] Susan Lee, Virginia Flaggers email of January 7, 2020.

[15] https://www.ozarksfirst.com/local-news/world-war-one-memorial-vandalized-at-grant-beach-park/

[16] KTVB, Boise. https://www.13wmaz.com/article/news/crime/newly-dedicated-vietnam-veterans-memorial-vandalized/249520240

[17] Mike Hibbard, “Tip Leads to Arrest for Sept. 11 Vandalism,” Finger Lake Times, September 6, 2019. https://www.fltimes.com/news/tip-leads-to-arrest-for-sept-memorial-vandalism/article_b603ff4a-3887-526d-b86c-89daa34a9c91.html

[18] Michael Rosenfield and Kaitlin McKinley Becker, “’It’s Just Evil’: South Boston WWII Memorial Vandalized,” Channel 10, Boston, March 18, 2019. https://www.nbcboston.com/news/local/vandalism_at_the_wwii_memorial/67279/

[19] Dan Stamm, “Philly’s Thofinn Karlsefni Statue Toppled into Schuylkill River,” Channel 10, Philadelphia, October 2, 2018. https://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/thorfinn-karlsefni-statue-schuylkill-river/191603/

[20] Jo C. Goode, “Vandals Destroy Trees Planted a Memorial for Fall River Soldiers,” The Herald News, March 29, 2019. https://www.heraldnews.com/news/20190329/vandals-destroy-trees-planted-at-memorial-for-fall-river-soldiers

[21] Joshua Rhett Miller, “Veterans Stand Up for Kate Smith Amid Outcry Over ‘Racist’ Song,” New York Post, April 25, 2019; Dean Balsamini, “Yankee Fans Threaten Boycott After Ban of Kate Smith’s ‘God Bless America,’” New York Post, May 11, 2019; Dean Balsamini, “Kate  Smith’s Niece Demands ‘Cowardly’ Yankees Let Fans Decide on Ban,” New York Post, May 4, 2019.

[22] https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/15/arts/design/theodore-roosevelt-statue-natural-history-museum.html?fbclid=IwAR2TraWlhv5HtQmQeDe_bnT7RrftkSsXDJvrlgqMFGvPD2_MFc23S4ZgsOU

[23] Jarrett Stepman, “University of Wisconsin-Madison Students Protest Abraham Lincoln Statue Because ‘He Owned Slaves,’ The Daily Slgnal, October 24, 2017. https://www.dailysignal.com/2017/10/24/university-of-wisconsin-students-protest-abraham-lincoln-statue-because-he-owned-slaves/. Jarrett Stepman is the author of the book, The War on History: The Conspiracy to Rewrite America’s Past.

[24] Arun Rath, “Is It Time to Change the Massachusetts Flag? Critics Say Yes,” WGBH, Boston, March 26, 2019. https://www.wgbh.org/news/news/2019/03/26/critics-say-its-time-to-change-the-massachusetts-flag

[25] Lori Aratani, “Historic Alexandria Church Decides to Remove Plaques Honoring Washington, Lee,” Washington Post, October 28, 2017.

[26] This quarterback led the San Francisco 49er football team to a 2-14, last-place finish. His successors led the team to the Super Bowl.  

[27] Madeleine List, “Providence’s Christopher Columbus Statue Vandalized Again,” Providence Journal November 25, 2019. https://www.providencejournal.com/news/20191125/providences-christopher-columbus-statue-vandalized-again

[28] Scott Jaschik, “Making a Point by Moving Shakespeare’s Portrait,” Inside Higher Ed, December 14, 2016. https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2016/12/14/students-penn-remove-portrait-shakespeare

[29] Hemant Mehta, “CA College Board Ditches Pledge of Allegiance Due to ‘White Nationalism’ Roots,” Friendly Atheist, January 28, 2019. https://friendlyatheist.patheos.com/2019/01/28/ca-college-board-ditches-pledge-of-allegiance-due-to-white-nationalism-roots/

[30] https://www.sgtreport.com/2018/12/stanford-university-fraternity-told-to-remove-american-flag-because-its-intimidating-and-aggressive/

[31] “PA Mayor Asking for the Removal of Soldier Symbols at Veterans Park,” Radio Pacific, Inc., November 1, 2019, https://www.myclallamcounty.com/2019/11/01/pa-mayor-asking-for-removal-of-soldier-symbols-at-veterans-park/?fbclid=IwAR1dfhC1_q4FJ8LoZ82_WXpZJn4Ebd4oZhWonTam2DRT9f8G1tBsld5t8uo

[32] Iris Dimmick, “Activist ‘Occupy’ Alamo Plaza to ‘Re-Defend’ Alamo Cenotaph,” Rivard Report, December 27, 2019. https://therivardreport.com/activists-occupy-alamo-plaza-to-re-defend-alamo-cenotaph/

[33] Rosalie Daval, “University Commission Considers Fate of George Rogers Clark Statue,” The Cavalier Daily, December 1, 2019. https://www.cavalierdaily.com/article/2019/12/university-commission-considers-fate-of-george-rogers-clark-statue

[34] “Vandal climbed, damaged Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument in Cleveland’s Public Square,” https://www.cleveland.com/crime/2019/07/vandal-climbed-on-and-damaged-soldiers-and-sailors-monument-in-clevelands-public-square.html?fbclid=IwAR2cQ580awVMHb_wwiVQFuCFQ5CTtzo3sr9jH_M-uqjqfbZnHleKpWZwYCs. July 25, 2019. Also see https://fox8.com/2015/03/19/3-indicted-in-vandalism-of-soldiers-and-sailors-monument/

[35] Scott Powers, “Senate Committee Approves Bill to Increase Penalties for Veterans’ Monument Desecration,” FlaPol, January 27, 2020 (hereafter cited as “Powers”).

[36] Rob Johnson, “Pensacola Vets Say Vandalism of Military Memorials Should Stir Revulsion,” Pensacola News Journal, April 21, 2014. https://www.pnj.com/story/news/military/2014/04/18/pensacola-vets-say-vandalism-of-military-memorials-should-stir-revulsion/7886845/.

[37] Tim Freed, “Vandlilzed Tuskegee Airman Status in Winter Park Repaired,” Winter Park/Maitland Observer, May 16 2019. https://www.orangeobserver.com/article/vandalized-tuskegee-airman-statue-in-winter-park-repaired

[38] Powers, January 27, 2020.

[39] Joe DiFazio, “Vandals Hit Plymouth 9/11 Memorial,” February 23, 2020. https://www.patriotledger.com/news/20200223/vandals-hit-plymouth-911-memorial?fbclid=IwAR28sG9v4OBUacXLownhiNcVhI_9FEWemXoGG6t4RbGNZUBoJ6oGWWN54CU

About Samuel W. Mitcham

Dr. Samuel W. Mitcham, Jr., received his Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee. A retired professor of geography and military history, he is the author of 40 books on World War II and the War for Southern Independence, including Bust Hell Wide Open: The Life of Nathan Bedford Forrest. His next books, It Wasn’t About Slavery: The Great Lie of the Civil War, will be released by Regnery History in January 2020, and The Greatest Lynching, to be released by Shotwell Publishing. More from Samuel W. Mitcham

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