A Dunn, North Carolina museum is reeling this week after discovering a World War II statue was vandalized. The vandal(s), it would seem, mistook the statue for a Confederate memorial.
WNCN reports on what happened:
“Never even thought it would affect us in any way at all,” said Mark Johnson, Curator of the General William C. Lee Airborne Museum in Dunn.
Police say someone doused the statue in some kind of a flammable liquid and set it on fire.
Johnson thinks the vandals wanted to make a statement about slavery and racism and he thinks the vandals could use a history lesson.
“I was surprised that anybody would do that to this museum statue,” Johnson said. “This is not a Civil War museum and this is not Robert E. Lee. This is General William C. Lee from United States Army Airborne from World War II, so I was hurt and surprised that somebody would actually do this.”
Besides sharing the same last name, General Robert E. Lee and General William C. Lee have nothing in common and are not related.
Photos of the vandalism were shared on the Major General William C. Lee Airborne Museum Facebook page:
Major General Lee has a fascinating history. Among many other significant accomplishments and honors, the museum website notes:
The first airborne command was organized with Major Lee as the commander. The Dunn man became the “Father of the American Airborne.”
Lee had seen a parachute drop at the World’s Fair in New York that lifted customers by pulley and dropped them to the ground by parachute. He ordered two of the lift towers erected at the parachute school at Fort Benning, Georgia, where they are still being used. This was the beginning of America’s airborne forces, which were credited a short time later in shortening World War II by years and saving countless lives.
General Lee developed the plans for the air invasion of Normandy on D-Day and had trained to jump with his men, but was sent back to the states a few months before the battle due to a heart attack. To honor their “father”, the paratroopers yelled out “Bill Lee!” as they made their jump on D-Day. He listened to the invasion by radio in his Dunn home on Divine Street, the current site of the General William C. Lee Airborne Museum.
In this case, however, since the historically ignorant vandal(s) picked the wrong target, let’s hope they’re punished to the fullest extent of the law.
Anyone with information about the William C. Lee statue vandalism should call Crime Stoppers at 910-892-2222.
—Sister Toldjah is a former liberal and a 15+ year veteran of blogging with an emphasis on media bias, social issues, and the culture wars. Read her Red State archives here. Connect with her on Twitter.–