05.03.11, 09:06 AM #1
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LSU War Memorial flag cut down and burned
The American flag that flew on the pole over the LSU War Memorial was cut down and burned early Monday morning, LSU Police Department and witnesses report.
The burning occurred only hours after President Barack Obama announced Sunday night al Qaida leader Osama bin Laden's death in combat.
Cpt. William Conger, University military science associate professor, said he and three ROTC students discovered the charred remains of the flag at 5:45 a.m. during physical training. They later retired the flag.
The Louisiana and University flags were also cut down, Conger said. The state flag was left unscathed, but the University flag is currently missing, Conger said.
Justin Bryson, political science junior and ROTC member, said he and fellow servicemen assumed the responsibility to replace the missing flags with a temporary set of colors.
"It's an act of cowardice not only to this great nation, but to the men and women who serve this great nation," Conger said.
Conger said any relation between the vandalism and bin Laden's death is speculation at this point.
LSUPD Sgt. Blake Tabor said officers were summoned and dispatched this morning and pursued an individual who was possibly involved in the incident but not apprehended.
Tabor said any further information concerning the ongoing police investigation will be released through University Media Relations because of the sensitive nature of the crime, and LSUPD will not release any information until an arrest is made.
Ernie Ballard, Univeristy Media Relations director, said there are no known suspects.
Facility Services began replacing the flag and repairing of the cable at 6:30 p.m. Monday, and University Color Guard raised the new flag late Monday night.
Louis Day, mass communication professor, said he was on his usual walk through campus at about 5:15 a.m. when he saw the flag burning. Day said he encountered a Facility Services worker who witnessed the flag being burned. Day said the employee yelled at an individual near the War Memorial who then ran toward Highland Road.
Former Student Government senator David Jones organized a service to honor the defaced flag. Jones said he was informed of the incident and called and text-messaged friends to gather at the War Memorial at noon on Monday for prayer and a moment of silence.
Jones said he called for the service not as a member of any organization but as a concerned student.
"This is unacceptable at our university," Jones said to a crowd of more than 50 students at the service.
Conger also spoke at the service and said the theft of the University flag was an offense to all affiliated with the University. He encouraged those angered to pray for the individuals who committed the crime.
Jones said he encourages students to "choose to walk in peace, love and courage."
The prayer and moment of silence were led by Myles Laroux, international studies junior, and the service ended as the crowd joined in singing the national anthem.
Elizabeth Ritchey, history freshman, attended the service and said she was informed of the flag burning incident through multiple social networking sites.
"It's scary," Ritchey said. "But it's interesting, objectively."
Ryan Nuckolls, agriculture business sophomore, said the unity students displayed at the service was a beautiful sight amid a "long 24 hours."
Nuckolls reacted to the flag's burning like he said any American would ญญญ with feelings of hatred, rage and revenge but said it was necessary to let go of those emotions.
Chase Petit, English education sophomore, said he has seen mixed reactions on Facebook in response to the flag burning. He said the burning was "disgusting," but many say it is freedom of expression.
Petit said he thinks the burning is related to bin Laden's death because many believe America should not celebrate death. He said bin Laden deserved to die.
"[The individual who burned the flag] may have thought they were expressing their freedom," said Austin Stukins, interior design sophomore and ROTC member. "But in all actuality, they defaced government property."
Some commenters on The Daily Reveille's website on Monday blamed the incident as an angry reaction from Muslims about bin Laden's death.
Those who may blame members of the Muslim community for the crime are ignorant of the Islamic faith, said Shoeb Khan, a Muslim student and computer engineering senior. Khan said he and fellow Muslim students are appalled by the burning of the flag but joyous for the end of bin Laden's reign of terror.
Muslim believers are taught obedience to the laws of the land they inhabit, Khan said, explaining that defacing even a dollar bill is offensive under Islamic teaching. He said the burning was an ignorant act that will produce no positive results.
"The 1 million Muslims in America contribute to society," Khan said, adding that the few who commit terror in the name of Islam do not reflect Muslim majority or the teachings of the Quran.
Khan said he hopes anyone involved in the flag burning is caught by police."Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack. -- Gen. George S. Patton
05.03.11, 01:12 PM #2
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Wow..this is the first I've heard of this. As an alum of LSU, I'm fairly certain it wasn't a Muslim/Arabic person who did this. In all likelihood, it is some drunken frat guy who thought it would be a cool thing to do. Hopefully he'll get what's coming to him and get expelled from school.LSU Tigers 2003 & 2007 National Champs
Detroit Pistons 2004 NBA Champs
If looks could kill, I'd stare at everybody!
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