Nearly 3,000 American flags representing the 2,996 people that were tragically killed in the September 11 attacks 15 years ago were destroyed and crushed early Sunday according to an Occidental College group.
Members of the Occidental College Republican Club discovered the act of vandalism early Sunday morning on the Eagle Rock campus. The group also discovered fliers with the image of the Twin Towers on it that read, “R.I.P. The 2,996 Americans who died in 9/11. R.I.P. the 1,455,590 innocent Iraqis who died during the U.S. invasion for something they didn’t do.”
“At midnight early this morning, vandals crushed, snapped, and threw in the garbage every single flag. Not one was left in the ground. Not only did they destroy the memorial, they put posters and flyers up that shamed the victims of 9/11,” the group wrote on their Facebook page.
Fifteen students then placed the flags back into the ground early in the morning and stood guard at the memorial.
A group of four students then walked up to them and “snapped a few flags right in our faces,” the group wrote.
Once again on Sunday morning, the group woke up to more acts of vandalism to the flags. Hundreds more were smashed and crushed and dumped into the trash. The group once again took the flags and placed them back into the ground.
Occidental Students United Against Gentrification were furious with the use of American flags in the memorial.
“We have no tolerance for stolen land, colonizers, oppression, genocides, xenophobia, and/or erasure of culture/people (aka US nationalism),” the group wrote on Facebook.
Occidental College then sent out a letter saying they are investigating the incident and disciplinary action will be taken.
“Freedom of speech is protected by the First Amendment,” Erica O’Neal, acting dean of students, said in a statement. “The right and freedom to debate complex, contentious issues and disagree with each other is fundamental to what we do at Oxy. At the same time, we may not express ourselves in ways that prevent others from engaging in protected speech.”