St. Louis, Missouri. A student government member from Washington University got caught red-handed throwing away 2,977 American flags set out in honor and memory of the victims of the 9/11 attacks on the 20th anniversary of the event.
Young Americans for Freedom posted video of the desecration on Saturday, where the student’s disrespectful actions can be seen on full display. The student newspaper Student Life identified the perpetrator and Fadel Alkilani, the Vice President of Finance for the Student Union.
Alkilani tore out 2,977 flags which were placed around the campus, one representing each victim of the 9/11 attacks. The memorial display was organized by conservative students from the “9/11: Never Forget Project.”
WOW: A student senator at @WUSTL was caught on video throwing away 2,977 American flags from conservative students' 9/11: Never Forget Project memorial.
— YAF (@yaf) September 11, 2021
Alkilani was caught on tape by Nathaniel Hope, who is from the Washington University’s College Republicans student group. Alkilani explained that he removed the flags in “protest [of] American imperialism” and an alleged “900,000” dead from the conflicts which followed.
Student Life reported that administrators from Washington University condemned Alkilani’s behavior, but didn’t say whether or not he would face any disciplinary measures.
Julie Flory, Vice Chancellor for Marketing and Communications for the university said that the administration was “disappointed” when they heard of the desecration of the memorial, calling it “interference with [an] expression of support” by the college’s Republican group.
The university also gave response to Young Americans for Freedom, ensuring that the record was clear regarding the fact that the actions of Alkilani were his own and “not on behalf of” either the university or their associates.
Washington University said that they “value freedom of expression,” but not at the cost of “disrupting the rights of others.”
The stolen flags were recovered and placed again in honor of the fallen of 9/11.
Sadly, it’s not uncommon amongst some of today’s college students to see such behavior. Many students today are too young to have experienced or remember the attacks of 9/11, they have no personal account of the loss and trauma of that day, and no reverence for the fallen.
For instance, students from Florida suggested recently that educators need to focus more on “America’s faults” when teaching the history of 9/11, and “avoid placing blame” when it come to the perpetrators.
Author: Anne Banks