A college in Massachusetts that stopped flying the American flag decided to bring it back Friday after receiving criticism from veterans groups and other flag supporters.
Hampshire College lowered the flag to half-staff after Donald Trump won the presidential election and someone burned it flag a few days later on November 11, Veterans Day in the U.S.
Following the flag burning incident, Hampshire President Jonathan Lash decided to remove the flag from campus all together. The move drew widespread criticism and protests from veterans groups, which called the flag’s removal disrespectful.
“There’s other ways that [Lash] could have dealt with this,” Victor Nunez Ortiz, post commander at the Amherst VFW chapter, told The Recorder, a local newspaper serving the small western Massachusetts town. “[Removing] our flag is disrespectful not just to the men and women who have served, but to all Americans who believe our flag is a symbol of freedom.”
Ortiz and dozens of other veterans gathered at the college in Amherst last week, where they held American flags and chanted “U.S.A.”
The decision to remove the flag wasn’t meant to be a political statement, Lash said Friday, but was meant to “facilitate much-needed dialogue about how to dismantle the bigotry that is prevalent in our society.”
“We understand that many who hold the flag as a powerful symbol of national ideals and their highest aspirations for the country—including members of our own community—felt hurt by our decision, and that we deeply regret,” Lash said in a statement.