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9/11 Tribute Trashed at SoCal College

Nearly 3,000 miniature American flags were removed from the grass, broken and thrown in the trash.



    9/11 Tribute Trashed

    A 9/11 tribute was trashed on a college campus on the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. Kate Larsen reports for the NBC4 News at 11 on Sunday, Sept. 11, 2016. (Published Monday, Sept. 12, 2016)

    Nearly 3,000 miniature American flags were placed in the grass around the main quad at Occidental College in Eagle Rock on Saturday to honor those who were killed in the 9/11 attacks.

    Just hours after the display went up, vandals removed many of the flags, broke them and threw them in the trash.

    Since the college's Republican club installed the flags Saturday, the group has had to repeatedly dig the flags out of trash cans, repair the broken ones and carefully place them back into the grass. 

    "Our mission here was to remember the 2,997 victims and heroes that died on 9/11," Vice President of the Occidental College Republican Club Max Woods said. "This is not political. This is beyond that." 

    Woods told NBC4 that he saw several students from a distance knocking over the flags and tried to find out what was behind the vandalism. 

    "Any time we've really tried to talk to them they run away ... A lot of us, we don't know them personally, but we do know that it's the same set of students doing it."

    The vandals left behind various signs which read, "Rest in peace to the Americans who died in 9/11 ... but also rest in peace to the more than 1 million Iraqis who died during the U.S. invasion for something they didn't do." 

    Erica O'Neal, the dean of students at Occidental College, said the college is investigating the incident and will take appropriate disciplinary action. 

    "Freedom of speech is protected by the First Amendment. The right and freedom to debate complex, contentious issues and disagree with each other is fundamental to what we do at Oxy. At the same time, we may not express ourselves in ways that prevent others from engaging in protected speech," O'Neal said in a statement to NBC4.