Controversial 9/11 Coke display in Walmart removed

PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. — A Coca-Cola display has quickly been removed after it was criticized for depicting New York City's twin towers.

The World Trade Center towers were destroyed and thousands were killed when two hijacked planes crashed into the towers on Sept. 11, 2001.

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BuzzFeed News reported that Shawn Richard tweeted a photo of the display Tuesday while on vacation in Panama City Beach, Florida, with his girlfriend.

"We stopped and stared at it like, 'Oh my god,'" Richard told BuzzFeed News. "Nobody seemed to be noticing it, it wasn’t very crowded, and I got the feeling that it had just been assembled. So we took some pics and went on our way."

The display, made from packages of Coke Zero, Coca-Cola, Sprite, Sprite Zero, Dasani water and Fanta, depicted the twin towers in front of a Walmart store banner that read, "We will never forget."

The phrase was against an old image of the New York skyline, which included the World Trade towers before the attack.

The Associated Press reported that Walmart issued a statement saying that the display was removed on Wednesday.

"We hold this moment in our country's history in the highest regard, and there was nothing disrespectful intended by the display," it said.

Walmart told the AP that the display design came from the supplier, and the manager of the store approved it.

BuzzFeed News reported that the Coca-Cola Co. said the display was "meant to honor local firefighters and to support their organization’s upcoming event."

"We sincerely apologize that anyone was offended or misunderstood its intent, and we have replaced the display."