About 1,000 military veterans gathered at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts this Sunday to protest the institution removing the American flag from its premises after a portion of its student body complained about its presence, post-presidential election.
Flags in hand, most of the vets in the crowd gathered at the campus to peacefully voice their stance against the university’s decision.
“They took down my flag, they have a right to do that, I’m here to defend their right to do that but I want them to understand how bad that hurts me,” said one former military member, Jerry Maguire, in an interview with WWLP-TV.
“I was in Iraq 18 months. I got hurt, spent time at Walter Reed. I came home and there’s no way I’ll let anyone take down our flag, no way. I means a lot to me and my brothers,” said David Soucy, to 22News.
A local New England mayor, as it turns out, also joined the vets in their peaceful yet patriotic protest.
“The students here and the president and board of trustees have risen from what the veterans sacrificed, this flag and not to fly the flag on campus if you were in some other countries around the world it would be handled very, very differently,” Mayor Domenic Sarno, of Springfield, Massachusetts said.
While there were no incidents of violence, a somewhat precarious situation took place when an individual — who many of the protesters believed to be a student — climbed into a group of veterans posing for a photograph and began making “obscene gestures.”