Usually it’s college students that do the protesting. But in Amherst, Massachusetts a large crowd of veterans rallied on Sunday afternoon against Hampshire College and its students because of incidents on campus involving the American flag.
As they waved hundreds of flags, veterans called on Hampshire College to put its American flag back up in the middle of campus.
“This is what men and women have died for,” Brian Martin, head of the Massachusetts Veterans of Foreign Wars, said at the rally. “They have fought for this symbol.”
Since the election, the flag has been lowered in protest. Then later, burned.
Eventually Hampshire’s president, Jonathan Lash, ordered the flag removed for the time being, saying it represents fear for some and is a positive symbol for others. Lash on Sunday said the decision to remove the flag was not about the presidential election.
“I certainly regret that people see it as a political statement rather than an effort to discuss values,” Lash said. “It’s not intended as a statement about [President-elect Donald] Trump at all.”
Toni Brennan, a Hampshire student watching the protest, said no one on campus meant to disrespect veterans. And another student, Samantha Cetrulo, noted what a wide gulf exists between the veterans and the students.