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

Polititainment

Madeleine Albright T(witter)KOs Conan

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright bested Conan O'Brien by Twitter knockout Thursday night, ribbing the comedian with a comeback worthy of a seasoned pro.

Kimmel: Stoner idea or gov. expenditure?
Sen. Tom Coburn’s (R – Okla.) fifth annual “Wastebook” was released Wednesday and some of the federally funded projects are so outrageous that they can be hard to believe. Late night host Jimmy Kimmel had the same thought and offered his audience a quiz. He read the name of a project, some real and some […]
Obama channels Chris Rock again

At rallies for Democrats in Maryland and Illinois on Sunday, Obama dropped the name "Cousin Pookie" -- a character that he used frequently to energize black voters during his 2008 campaign -- during his speeches.

Oliver beats Supreme Court's camera ban
Comedian John Oliver is sick of the Supreme Court ban on cameras in the court room and the ridiculous ways it makes television news stations have to cover those cases. But all hope is not lost. “What happens at the Supreme Court is way too important not to pay attention to and yet the ban […]
Stewart and Colbert go after 'Fangate'

Both Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert had a field day with “Fangate” Thursday night.

White House

Obama is withholding over 15,000 Fast and Furious documents

President Obama claimed executive privilege to withhold over 15,000 documents relating to Operation Fast and Furious, including nearly 20 emails sent between Attorney General Eric Holder and his wife.

White House fence jumper charged with assault
WASHINGTON (AP) — The 23-year-old Maryland man who climbed over the White House fence Wednesday night has been charged with felonies for assaulting two police dogs and making threats, the Secret Service said Thursday. Dominic Adesanya of Bel Air, Maryland, is in custody of the U.S. Marshals Service for previous outstanding warrants, Secret Service spokesman Brian Leary said. […]
President Obama, unpaid bills and the curious editing of the White House transcript
President Obama, some unpaid bills and a curiously “inaudible” section of the White House recording of a speech — that’s how all good stories start, right? While at a Democratic National Committee fundraiser in Chicago, Obama cracked a joke about the “unpaid bills” at his home. The joke was reported by the White House Press […]
Secrecy shrouds how the Obamas cook their chicken wings

Now it seems the Obamas are tight-lipped even about their eating habits.

Obama delivers devastating blow to red state Democrats, calls them ‘all folks who vote with me’
President Obama can’t seem to stay out of the 2014 midterm elections, no matter how much his fellow Democrats want him to. Obama spoke on Al Sharpton’s radio show Monday, which was later replayed on MSNBC, insisting that red state Democrats are still his “strong allies.” “A lot of the states that are contested this time […]

Congress

Rand Paul: ‘The war on terror is not over’

Rand Paul attempted to lay out his recently evolving foreign policy vision at his speech Thursday night at the Center for the National Interest.

McCarthy speaks out against 'Truthy' study
Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy is joining the growing dissent against the federally-funded “Truthy” study designed to monitor political speech on social media. In a blog post Thursday, titled “#KillingFreeSpeech,” McCarthy promises that the House Committee on Science will be conducting oversight “in the coming months on this and other questionable government-funded research projects.” “Why does the government […]
CIA agents impersonated Senate staffers to snoop
Despite a number of growing foreign and domestic threats over the summer, the CIA admitted that they had been using their resources to spy on elected officials in the Senate. Now, insiders are alleging that it’s not just what they did that is the problem, but how they went about it. A new piece by the […]
Republicans say they will reform the IRS

Republicans are talking about reforming the IRS if they gain the majority in the Senate next month, but seem to be treading with caution on making any specific promises.

'Wastebook' finds $25B in 'unnecessary' spending
Monkey gambling, synchronized swimming sea monkeys, and mountain lions on treadmills, oh my! Sen. Tom Coburn (R – Okla.) released his fifth and final “Wastebook” Wednesday, chronicling $25 billion tax dollars spent on 100  “silly, unnecessary, and low priority projects” this year. His findings are absolutely astonishing. Coburn, who is retiring this year, is not letting his fellow […]