Rep. John Velis says flag burners should “pack up their bags and leave”

Westfield Democrat is an Army veteran

john-velis
State Rep. John Velis (D-Westfield) is seen here in a WWLP file image.

BOSTON (WWLP) – An American flag was burned on the campus of Hampshire College on Veterans Day. It is an incident that hits close to home for State Representative John Velis, an Army veteran.

The Westfield Democrat told 22News that he is furious after hearing that someone set the flag on fire on the day that we honor our nation’s veterans.

U.S. flag burned at Hampshire College, 2 days after being lowered

The president of Hampshire College has apologized for the incident on behalf of his students. The flag on campus had been lowered to half-staff on Wednesday to recognize students who were unhappy with the outcome of the presidential election.

The act of burning the American flag isn’t against the law. It is protected under the First Amendment right to free speech.

Even so, Velis told 22News that whoever is responsible should be ashamed of themselves.

“If they’re that unhappy here for doing that, they should pack up their bags and leave. I mean, we have a very difficult immigration policy to get here, but to leave here, it is not so hard,” Velis said.

Hampshire College has no idea who is responsible for the flag burning, because there are no cameras on campus. 22News will continue to follow this story as it develops.

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