This past weekend marked 15 years since the September 11 attacks in 2001. Many mourned and rallied together for support in honor of those who died in the tragic event.
Occidental College in Los Angeles, California is one of many universities that honored the victims of the attack. On Saturday, students came together and planted 2,997 flags in the ground for the victims.
By midnight, these flags were no longer in the ground.
Instead, they were crushed, broken, and thrown in the garbage.
Occidental College Republican Club, the group that organized the event, posted about the incident on Facebook.
In addition to destroying the memorial, the vandals put up posters and flyers around campus that shamed the victims.
These flyers were taped over the club’s 9/11 Never Forget Project signs as well as at other locations and said, “R.I.P the 2,996 Americans who died in 9/11. R.I.P. the 1,455,590 innocent Iraqis who died during the U.S. invasion for something they didn’t do.”
Shortly after the act of vandalism, 15 students came together to put the memorial back together. They took the flags out of the garbage and had students stand guard at the memorial.
Unfortunately, the vandals came back.
Four Occidental students came right up to the students standing watch at the memorial and broke more flags before running off.
Later that morning, students awoke to a similar sight.
Once again, the flags were smashed and more were thrown in the garbage.
They were put back into the ground once more.
According to The Washington Post, Occidental officials stated that they were going to investigate the students involved. Unfortunately, none of the vandals have been identified yet.
Many users have replied to the club's post. Most rallied behind the students who defended the memorial and continually attempted to keep it up, while others used the incident as an opportunity to criticize the school, or to turn it into something political.
This event was created to bring together a community of students and commemorate the untimely death of many Americans, but instead was turned into a political argument for those with varying views.
Since the incident and the overwhelming support over the initial post, the club has posted on the social media platform again, asking people to refrain from racist remarks.
“We understand people are frustrated and angry. But please, refrain from racist remarks. That serves no justice." The Facebook post reads. "This memorial was meant to remember those who fell and that post was created to show that students at this school tried to erase the message of remembrance we tried to send out.”
The club ends their post with a strong message to the vandals: “We ask that all students respect the memorial for the remainder of its time in the quad. If you try to destroy it, we will rebuild it.”
Banner image credit: Facebook, Occidental College Republican Club