The College Republicans of Occidental College in Los Angeles spent hours creating a 9/11 memorial on their campus by placing an American flag in the ground for each victim, nearly 3,000 in total.
They woke up on Sunday, the 15th anniversary of 9/11, to find their display vandalized. They showed the damage in a Facebook post:
While there were many who left messages of support on the club’s post, there were some who sided with the vandals. Heat Street reported that students of Occidental’s Coalition Oxy for Diversity and Equity (CODE) did not take responsibility for the vandalism, but created a Facebook post on Sunday with a message of praise.
CODE called the use of American flags “triggering:”
As students of color this symbol of the American flag is particularly triggering for many different reasons. Historically, the American flag and subsequent American nationalist symbols have been polarizing and marginalizing to people of color living within the United States.
“When this institution allows thousands of American flags to be placed in the center of campus,” they wrote, “it speaks volumes to the students that have lived their lives under the oppression of this flag.”
The group claimed that they were inspired by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s national anthem protest. It should be noted that the football players who decided to join Kaepernick in protest on Sunday only did so after remembering the victims of the 9/11 attacks.
Kaepernick also stated in an earlier interview that he has respect for service members and that their sacrifices allowed him to take the stance that he did.
The 9/11 display was supposedly replaced with signs and poems to commemorate some 9/11 victims and the 1.4 million Iraqis who died as a result of the War on Terror, which was also praised in the Facebook post.
CODE reminded the Facebook users that Eid al-Adha began on September 11, saying that the flags showed “a complete lack of thought, care or understanding of the students that are still living with the rising Islamophobia in the aftermath of 9/11.”