The divisive developments surrounding planned 9/11 commemoratives continue to disappoint. Administrators at Marietta College in Ohio, for example, created a controversy over one student’s planned display of 2,977 American flags — one for each person who died in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The Blaze reports:
After receiving initial permission from the college to hold the memorial, [Sarah] Snow, a junior, said she received a second email saying the vigil would not be allowed unless it also included flags from the other countries too.
In a post on the Young America’s Foundation website, an organization for conservative students, Snow said her “jaw dropped” when she read the email.
“Why should we place the extra flags anyways? It was an attack on AMERICANS, AMERICAN ideals, AMERICAN capitalism, defense, and freedom,” she wrote. “The World Trade Center wasn’t hit because a Chinese accountant was working that morning; it was hit because American capitalists were there.”
When Snow visited the student life office, administrators told her they didn’t want a negative reaction from international students at the school — but Snow hadn’t received any complaints from international students, anyway.
At the very least, the PC police at Marietta College lack even a sense of the artistry of 2,977 flags of the same stars and stripes, the aesthetics of uniformity. Sheerly as a display, 2,977 U.S. flags make a far more striking statement than would a mixture of flags.
But at the most, Marietta’s administrators miss the poignancy of the post-9/11 patriotism that flourished across the country — and the poignancy of the opportunity to recall that period of a national consciousness, a renewed awareness that such a person as an “American” does, in fact, exist — and stands, as ever, for the ideals enshrined in our founding documents (the equality of persons before the law, inalienable rights, a government which derives its power from the consent of the governed, etc.) and for the practices historically embodied in our culture, including the capitalistic practices that led to our profound prosperity. It’s also to miss that America has always existed as an invitation to those who want to try freedom over the high-priced security of a nanny state or dictatorship — and that its flag is internationally recognized as a symbol of that freedom. To place flags in such a way as to count citizens of other countries among Americans is not to diminish their citizenship in their home countries but rather to express that they fell on the side of America in a visible, tangible, horrific clash between the Islamist terrorist’s worldview and the American’s worldview.