Every year, the anniversary of the September 11, 2001 jihadist attack on the United States brings out stories of people’s reactions that display both the best and the worst of humanity. Sometimes, like in today’s example, the best and the worst are both contained in a single story.
The Daily Caller reports that on Monday, an unidentified man was caught on camera tearing the small American flags out of a 9/11 memorial on the campus of Columbia University. The creep took more than fifty flags in total and threw them in the garbage.
Fortunately, an ROTC cadet was present to witness the event, capture the misdeed on camera, and set things right:
“Angered, I ran over and asked him what he was doing, and was laughed at with no proper response,” said Aanand Shah, an ROTC cadet who filmed the event. “I asked a nearby Public Safety officer what could be done; but he was well within his rights to protest, so I recorded the video.”
Shah began replanting the flags with four other witnesses. Others joined and soon 15 individuals were taking part in the effort.
“I’m (personally) okay with people kneeling for the anthem or burning the flag in dissent or protest — I will fight to defend their right to do so,” said Shah. “I countered this man because (in my opinion) the tragedy and the memory of Sep 11, 2001, and the flags on that lawn, shouldn’t devolve into politics and disrespect when it’s meant to serve as a symbol of remembrance and memorial.”
“September 11th is a day where all Americans no matter their race, creed, or political affiliation should come together to remember those who have fallen and risked their lives for our safety,” Columbia University College Republicans chapter president Ari Boosalis said of the incident in a statement to Campus Reform. “This event is by no means political, but a day of remembrance and tribute, especially to the first responders who gave up their lives in order to save others.”
Of course, punishing the anonymous perpetrator would probably be difficult in any event when it’s unknown for sure whether he was even a student, but the idea that he was “well within his rights” to desecrate the memorial is preposterous.
This wasn’t speech or protest; it was property damage. Campus Reform requested a comment about the incident from Columbia University Public Safety, but didn’t get one.
Let us know what you think can and should be done about horrendous acts like this.