Stone Cold

Lincoln Memorial, Saddam & More Famous Monument Attacks (Photos)

Who vandalized the Lincoln Memorial? Nina Strochlic looks at history’s other symbolic strikes for clues.

AP; Getty (2)

AP; Getty (2)

On Friday, the country's beloved Lincoln Memorial was found splattered with green paint. Was it a childish act of subversion, or something more malicious? Vandalizing monuments has been a way to send strong messages throughout history. From pulling down a statue of King George III during the American War of Independence, to the Taliban destroying 2,000-year-old Buddha statues, here are some notable statue desecrations.

 

AP; Getty (2)

On Friday, the country’s beloved Lincoln Memorial was found splattered with green paint. Was it a childish act of subversion, or something more malicious? Vandalizing monuments has been a way to send strong messages throughout history. From pulling down a statue of King George III during the American War of Independence, to the Taliban destroying 2,000-year-old Buddha statues, here are some notable statue desecrations.

J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Lincoln Memorial Vandalism

Not our Abe! Early Friday morning, a splatter of green paint vandalism was found marring the Lincoln Monument in Washington, D.C. To the chagrin of visitors, access to the statue was closed for the day to accommodate the cleanup. Officials said there were no messages or symbols visible in the paint, so the motive is unclear.

Mirropix/Getty

Saddam Hussein

Signaling the end of an era for Iraq, U.S. Marines pulled down a statue of Saddam Hussein in central Baghdad just a few weeks after the American-led invasion in 2003.

Mark Wilson/Getty

Columbus

Well the red paint certainly makes it creepier. In 2002, a statue of Christopher Columbus was vandalized at Union Station in Washington, with paint and a message that read, "150 Years of Resistance."

Shah Marai/Getty via AFP

Bamiyan

A massive niche in the rocks of Afghanistan's Bamiyan region stood empty after the Taliban destroyed two 2,000-year-old Buddha statues in 2001. Shortly after, the regime was overthrown by a U.S. invasion. The area was once part of the Silk Road that linked Central Asia with China.

DeAgostini/Getty

King George

Down with the monarchy! Fighters in the American War of Independence toppled the statue of King George III in New York on July 9, 1776. The lead statue was later transported to Connecticut and melted down to make guns and ammo.

Dimitar Dilkoff/Getty via AFP

Bulgaria

Two decades after the Soviet breakup, a monument in Sofia still honors soldiers of the USSR. In 2011, an unknown artist transformed them into comic-book heroes and other pop-culture characters. The bottom picture, a year later, shows the cleaned-up version of the statue.

Carlos Osorio/AP

Joe Louis

A statue featuring the arm of African-American boxing legend Joe Louis has been controversial since it was installed in Detroit a quarter century ago. In 2004, two men, upset at the rising murder rate in the city, painted the monument white and left a note that said, "Courtesy of Fighting Whities." They were arrested, but claimed the vandalism was not racially targeted; they told police they  hoped to convey a message to "stop the violence."

Creative Commons/stjnky

Bush

On Inauguration Day in 2009, a statue of former President George H.W. Bush was vandalized in Houston, with the words "No more Bush" in yellow paint. Sounds like someone got confused about who was taking the presidential oath that day.