- - Thursday, September 16, 2021

A student activist destroys a 9/11 memorial in the middle of the night — throwing away 2,977 American flags. Sounds impossible? Sadly, it is not. 

The woke agenda on college campuses is increasingly anti-American. The actions of a member of the student government at Washington University in St. Louis on the morning of September 11 is the latest example of the radical indoctrination infecting so many involved in higher education across the country. 

Young America’s Foundation (YAF) was alerted early on Saturday that a memorial display had been destroyed by Washington University student Fadel Alkilani. A fellow student Nathaniel Hope filmed Alkilani carrying multiple trash bags filled with American flags stolen from the memorial site. 

Patriotic students had placed 2,977 American flags in the ground as part of YAF’s 9/11: Never Forget Project. Each flag represents one of the innocent victims of the September 11, 2001, attack by radical Islamic terrorists. 

Students at Washington University in St. Louis joined young people at more than 200 campuses. Since 2003, 12 million flags have been placed on college campuses and at schools across the nation. 

Alkilani stated on social media that he stole the flags as an act of “protest against American imperialism and the 900,000 lives lost as a result of post-9/11 war.” According to the student who taped it on his phone, Alkilani claimed it as a “flag relocation incident” and said the memorial was a violation of school rules as he swore at the student. 

Amazingly, Alkilani is the chairman of the student senate finance committee. They are in charge of allocating funding to student organizations.  

Students participating in the 9/11: Never Forget Project at Washington University in St. Louis said that Alkilani attempted to destroy the display Friday night. He was told to stop after students called campus police. 

“Knowingly damaging another’s property and the cost of the damage totals more than $750” is first degree property damage under Missouri law. That is a Class D felony which is punishable by an incarnation of up to four years. 

Alkilani, according to students at the memorial, was warned by police on Friday night not to destroy the display. He was caught on video destroying the exhibition on Saturday morning and throwing bags of the flags into the garage. It is clear that Alkilani should be arrested and prosecuted for his crime. 

Sadly, this is the kind of abuse that conservative students have to deal with each day on college campuses all across America.  If they react this way to something as innocent as a memorial to the 2,977 innocent lives lost on 9/11, imagine how much worse the woke radical left is to those who advocate free-market capitalism over big government socialism?

We have yet to identify the people who vandalized the 9/11: Never Forget Project at Michigan State University (MSU). In addition to the 2,977 flag display, students had a memorial with an American flag on it and the phrase “Never Forget 2,977 lives.” 

Vandals covered the word “Never” with black spray paint, so it just said, “Forget.”  They also spray-painted the word “Israel” across the American flag on the memorial. Thankfully, the students organizing the project fixed the display. 

“It’s stunning that someone would vandalize a memorial to the victims of the September 11th attacks, but it also underscores why we do this every year—to ensure that the innocent lives taken that day are never forgotten,” said MSU YAF Chairman Charlie Jones.  

At Mount Holyoke College, vandals smeared out a chalk message on the sidewalk that read, “In loving memory of those who died on 9/11.”  They replaced it with a message that read, “there is blood on U.S. hands.”

During the days that followed the 9/11 attacks twenty years ago, it is hard to imagine anyone, regardless of political or religious beliefs, in America not wanting to pay a solemn tribute to the innocent victims of the attacks. The facts clearly show that they were conducted and orchestrated by radical Islamic terrorists who hated our freedoms in America. 

Those freedoms allow fragile woke activists to say crazy things on campuses across America. But they don’t allow them to destroy the property of other people. Or to wipe out their freedom to speak. 

Too many young people have failed to learn the fundamentals of American and world history. Worst yet, many are learning outright falsehoods about our nation, which leads them to hate our country and doubt America’s promise. 

President Ronald Reagan warned us about this in his farewell address on January 11, 1989. His answer was getting back to the basics: “more attention to American history and a greater emphasis on civic ritual.”  We would do well to heed his advice today. 

• Scott Walker was the 45th governor of Wisconsin. You can contact him at swalker@washingtontimes.com or follow him @ScottWalker.

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