- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 19, 2001

Just to the right of the 5-foot-tall American flag that hangs in the doorway of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity house at George Washington University is a hastily painted banner created from a white bedsheet.
"Our nation stands united," the banner reads.
Patriotism a trait many think youths lack is surfacing on local college campuses in the wake of last Tuesday's terrorist attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center.
It comes in many forms.
"I wanted someday to say to my kids, 'Your dad worked hard to keep patriotism alive,'" said Sam Kelner, 19, a political science major from Plymouth, Minn., who painted the banner.
Mr. Kelner and his fraternity brothers plan to go to the Pentagon to unload truckloads of emergency supplies.
"We've never been tested. I think this is the first wake-up call to our generation that says democracy and freedom aren't going to come easy," Mr. Kelner said. "I'm not in the Army, but if the call ever comes, I want my president and my country to know I'll be there."
At American University, where students were forced to evacuate after a bomb threat on Thursday, freshman Dan Tappen said the shock of the attacks was sure to motivate even the most disaffected.
"I think there was a lack of patriotism among our age group. This was like a slap in the face," said Mr. Tappen, 18, of Fishkill, N.Y., who recently gave blood.
His visiting high school friend, Keith Cerrone, 18, attends college in Manhattan and plans to help out at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center in New York during breaks.
During the attacks on the World Trade Center's twin towers, he sat in a biology lecture at nearby John Jay College. Students there are acting selflessly and feel part of a greater whole, he said.
Pietro deVolpi, 18, a George Washington freshman from Harrisburg, Penn., was in the campus lunchroom riveted to a television set broadcasting the latest news about the crisis. He said help comes in many forms, even a smile to a stranger on the street.
"We all do our part," he said. "This isn't the 1940s, but if there was a call, I'm sure people would enlist. I'd enlist."
"Young people are really becoming patriotic. Even if it's just wearing red, white and blue or sticking flags on their cars," said Mona Anvary, 18, an American University freshman from St. Cloud., Minn.
American University freshman Chris Sells, 18, predicted the rally around the flag may not last long on college campuses.
"For a short time, people are going to be backing the government. Young people who don't usually support President Bush probably will," he said. "Having someone trying to tear you apart is a unifying cause."
Nonetheless, some already are taking the "support the troops, but not the war" attitude demonstrated during the Persian Gulf war.
"The nature of patriotism has changed," said Dan Reisser, 19, a George Washington sophomore from North Carolina, who said there isn't a conflict between patriotism and criticism of the government.
Andrew Phillips, 19, a George Washington sophomore from Frederick, Md., said he supports the nation in this time of crisis. But his patriotism may wane when the United States goes on the offensive, particularly if soldiers his age lose their lives in foreign lands, he said.
"I want to see some retribution, but I'm scared. Once this came out, you started having people talking about war. Our generation is the war-fighting generation. That terrifies me," Mr. Phillips said.
Even though George Washington freshman Trina Bolton, 18, attended a candlelight vigil on campus Thursday night, she felt emotionally separated from the nation's grief.
"There were a lot of people crying. I almost felt like an onlooker, like I didn't deserve to cry."
As for the government, she said, "I guess I'll put faith in them because there's nothing else."

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide