Protesters at Middlebury College rip flags commemorating 9/11 victims out of the ground

Middlebury College ProtestAn annual tribute to the 2,977 lives lost on Sept. 11 ended prematurely after five students from Middlebury College ripped American flags from the ground in protest, stuffing them into black trash bags before a fellow student stopped them.

The students — four females and one male —  were caught tearing the more than 2,000 American flags placed near the campus chapel from the ground and stuffing them into black trash bags. Set up as a bipartisan tribute to the victims of 9/11 by the Vermont school’s College Republicans and Democrats, the protesters claimed the flags were placed on top of a “sacred Abenaki burial site,” the school’s newspaper, The Middlebury Campus, reported.

“Today, while walking up the hill to Mead Chapel, I witnessed five individuals ripping the flags out of the ground and un-ceremonially throwing them into black garbage bags,” College Republican President Ben Kinney wrote on the group’s Facebook page. “I immediately confronted them and asked them what they were doing, and they angrily replied that Middlebury College sits on Abenaki burial ground and that it is ‘extremely offensive to stick anything in the ground, especially American flags, which are symbolic of their death and oppression.'”

Kinney, who set the flags up himself Tuesday night, continued, writing the students told him both the College Republicans and Democrats were “commemorating the wrong deaths,” and justified their protest, calling it a “protest against American imperialism.”

The young President took one of the bags from the protesters before the group ran from the site. Kinney has since filed a police report.

According to the Middlebury Campus, the two student groups have been placing American flags in the grass between Mead Chapel and the Davis Family Library for approximately 10 years. Campuses nationwide take part in similar tributes as part of the Young America’s Foundation’s 9/11: Never Forget Project.

“Since 2003, Young America’s Foundation has worked with students from across the country to ensure that the 2,977 victims who were murdered in the 9/11 terror attacks be remembered by participating in the 9/11: Never Forget Project,” Hillary Cherry, YAF’s program officer for public relations, told Red Alert Politics in an email. “By ripping the American flags from the ground the five protestors not only disrespected their fellow students who worked hard setting up the display, but they also took away the chance for other students to remember the victims of the horrific attacks.

“Twelve years ago 2,977 people were murdered simply because they were Americans. Each of the protestors should apologize for dismantling a beautiful display honoring American heroes and interfering with their fellow students’ freedom of speech.”

Two of the protesters — Anna Shireman-Grabowski and Amanda Lickers — issued statements via the website Climate Connections, which calls the protest an “act of solidarity.”

“My heart swelled and I knew in my core that thousands of American flags should not penetrate the earth where my abenaki brothers and sisters sleep,” Lickers wrote. “We have all survived so much – and as a visitor on their territories I took action to respect them and began pulling up all of the flags. … Yesterday I said no to settler occupation. I took those flags. It is a small reclamation and modest act of resistance.”

Shireman-Grabowski, a student at Middlebury, echoed her sentiments.

“While the American flags on the Middlebury hillside symbolize to some the loss of innocent lives in New York, to others they represent centuries of bloody conquest and mass murder,” she wrote. “As a settler on stolen land, I do not have the luxury of grieving without an eye to power. Three thousand flags is a lot, but the campus is not big enough to hold a marker for every life sacrificed in the history of American conquest and colonialism.”

Despite the protest, the College Republicans will not be deterred, as Kinney wrote yesterday.

“I just wanted to let you guys know that I fully intend to carry on this tradition, and believe it to be extremely vital in making sure that this day is remembered among younger college students who may have been too young to watch that day’s events on television back in 2001,” he wrote.

This piece has been updated to include new information.

Comments

Leave a Reply

Devo does not want Scalise to 'Whip It'
A founding member of the 1980s band Devo really does not want to see House Majority Whip Steve Scalise “Whip It Good.” Scalise has been using the bands hit song “Whip It” at events and his staff recently created a joint fundraising committee with Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) to raise money for a 1980s-themed birthday party […]
Jon Stewart rips Democrats for race-bait

“Oh, for f---s sake.”

Jon Stewart skewers VA wait times

In case you forgot, the VA is still terrible.

Stewart hits Cruz on privacy
Sen. Ted Cruz’s Monday presidential announcement made Christmas come early for Jon Stewart and “The Daily Show.” Stewart was positively gleeful as he prepared to mock everything from the kiss between Cruz and his wife to the fact that Liberty University students were forced to attend the campaign speech. But the liberal host did make […]
Jay Leno: College kids are too PC

Whether it's how ethanol subsidies are terrible or how college kids need to get over themselves, Jay Leno has been on point lately.

White House

White House promises not to use legal loophole to keep NSA spying alive if Patriot Act expires
If the Patriot Act expires, it will stop the National Security Agency’s bulk spying too. The Obama administration promised this week that it will not take advantage of a legal loophole to keep the NSA spying alive unless Congress re-authorizes the Patriot Act, Reuters reported. Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which authorizes the NSA to collect data on […]
In honor of National Puppy Day, here are the top 10 cutest presidential puppies

Today is National Puppy Day! To celebrate, we give you the top ten cutest puppies to grace the White House Lawn.

Obama: ‘By hook or by crook’ I’ll push my agenda through
This is probably not the smartest phrasing to use. President Obama had an interview with Huffington Post over the weekend and while much of the interview was his oft-repeated lines about how Republicans are the reason nothing is getting done in Washington, he added a new phrase about his legacy that is bound to raise […]
Obama tells Prince Charles that Americans like the royal family better than their own politicians

President Obama has admitted what we all already knew: Americans far prefer the Duchess of Cambridge to Michelle.

Obama suggested that voting should be mandatory. Now he’s being called ‘totalitarian.’

President Obama is taking some heat for suggesting this week that mandatory voting might not be such a bad idea.

Congress

Sen. Harry Reid will not seek re-election
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid will not seek re-election, he announced in a video Friday morning. Reid, who has served in Congress since 1987, suffered serious eye and facial injuries in an exercise accident earlier this year, said he had been contemplating retiring from the Senate for months. He said in the video that his decision was […]
Schock: Lincoln faced challenges too
Embattled Rep. Aaron Schock (R- Ill.) gave his farewell speech on the House floor Thursday, promising that it was “not the end of a story, but rather the beginning of a new chapter.” While his own trials are more of the “Downton Abbey” decor and Katy Perry concert variety, Schock likened this tough time to that […]
Boehner, Pelosi read mean tweets
Taking a cue from Jimmy Kimmel’s famous “Mean Tweets” series, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Sen Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) got in on the fun and read some mean tweets about themselves in a video for the 2015 Radio & Television Correspondents Association […]
GOP blocks Warren's student loan plan
THE HILL — Senate Republicans on Wednesday blocked an effort by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) to attach an amendment aimed at lowering student loan rates to the budget. Senators voted 46-53 against Warren’s amendment to the Republican budget resolution. Warren’s amendment would have allowed people with college loan debt to refinance at interest rates from […]
Rand really liked those 'Stand with Rand' trolls

During Ted Cruz's big announcement at Liberty University yesterday--which students were required to attend--some Rand Paul supporters decided to troll Cruz with some "Stand with Rand" shirts: