A large chunk of the Berlin Wall placed at Chapman University in southern California to serve as a symbol of freedom has been defaced, university officials announced earlier this week.
According to The Orange County Register, Chapman University officials revealed this week that someone vandalized the memorial with brown paint, which covered the historical graffiti on the bottom portion of the wall.
“I am outraged by this senseless attempt to destroy a priceless piece of history and heartbroken that this can happen on our own campus,” Daniel Struppa, president of the university, said in a statement, reports the news agency.
Back in 1998, when the wall fragment was first put up, The Los Angeles Times reported that Chapman President Jim Doti got the idea for it after seeing another piece of the Berlin Wall standing at the Ronald Reagan Library.
“It’s a symbol of the end of the Cold War and a symbol of freedom,” Doti said at the time. “I was asking students about it and they said, ‘We were just little kids when this came down.’ Well, I was just a little kid when this went up.”
“I remember Ronald Reagan standing at this wall and saying, ‘Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall,’” said a university finance professor at the time, reports The L.A. Times. “And now a piece of it is sitting in our backyard.”
“Let this terrible act of vandalism be turned into a time to celebrate how fortunate we are to be the home to an important piece of history,” said Struppa, The Orange County Register reports.
While Chapman officials have not determined a motive, the act of vandalism has emerged amidst a national trend whereby left-wing activists target statues of historical figures or national leaders in the name of fighting oppression.
For example, in the past couple of months, activists have set their sights on statues of President George Washington, Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, who helped win the Civil War, and President Abraham Lincoln himself.
While not technically a national figure, the Italian explorer Christopher Columbus has also been the subject of ire for radical activists, despite the fact that Columbus Day was first federally recognized in the 19th century as an homage to Italian Americans.
Over the Fourth of July weekend, vandals toppled a statue of Christopher Columbus near Little Italy in Baltimore and then tossed the fragment into water connected to the nearby harbor. About a week later, a Columbus statue in Minneapolis, Minnesota, that was gifted by Italian Americans was destroyed.
Even more recently, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot temporarily removed a Columbus statue from Grant Park after dozens of officers were injured defending it against extremists the week prior. According to the Chicago Tribune, the mayor removed the state “in part to avoid another high-profile confrontation between police and protesters.”
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