As TCNJ students, we come from various ethnic backgrounds, areas, and have different values and beliefs, but what unites us all is that we are Americans. We are Americans living during this time of crisis when a little less than two years ago, terrorists murdered thousands of innocent Americans. What untied us during that horrible time despite our differences was our nationalism. We hung our American flags proudly in an effort to show that we were still strong, that we were united, and that under no circumstances would we be defeated.
As we are now at war with Iraq and thousands of American soldiers are in the Middle East fighting for our safety, sadly they do not know if they will ever return back to their homes and families again. They are fighting for the freedom we enjoy by liberating millions of innocent Iraqi civilian from the reign of their oppressor, Saddam Hussein. My mother, an elementary school teacher, recently had to say goodbye to one of her co-workers, a fifth grade teacher, because he will be going overseas to fight for America. Imagine being 10 years old and knowing that your teacher was leaving your classroom to fight in Iraq?
During this time of uncertainty, stress, and sadness, it baffles me that I was told at a Residence Hall Association Executive Board meeting by our club’s advisors that the college will not allow us to hang the American flag outside our doors “so as to conflict with anyone else’s beliefs” and because it is “public property.” I’ve heard of the separation of church and state, but never of separation of nation and state! Now I cannot hang an American flag, the symbol of my country, but there can be chalk drawings of the female genitalia lining the sidewalks everywhere I turned a few months ago to promote “The Vagina Monologues?” Gee I’m sure that didn’t offend anyone. What kind of liberal institution has The College of New Jersey become who says that we cannot even wave the American flag on our doors? It’s ok to have a speaker in front of the Brower Student Center denouncing people of different religions and ethnic backgrounds, but it’s not ok to display the American flag? What kind of backwards society do we live in? I’m sure that United States Veterans are rolling over in their graves.
I’ll display my American flag if I want, in memory of all who gave their lives in battle so that I could enjoy my freedom and live in the wonderful country that is the United States of America. I’ll wave my flag for my great-grandfathers who served in World War I, for my Grandfathers who served our country during World War II, and for my father who served our country during the Vietnam War. I’ll also wave my flag for a family friend of mine, Father Mychal Judge, chaplain of the NYFD who perished in the World Trade Center terrorist attack on September 11. I’ll wave that flag because I’m lucky to be alive, to breathe this air, and to have the freedom to achieve my dreams-to be a student right now, earning a degree that will enable me to have a successful future. But I definitely won’t be sorry if waving the American flag offends anyone, I’m sorry that it does offend you and you can’t respect your own country who’s soil you live on!