AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – All of the names on the Veterans Memorial in Springfield remind us of the men and women who died for our country. Local veterans told 22News that’s what they want the students at Hampshire College to understand that it’s not about flying the flag, it’s about recognizing what it stands for.
“Americanism, patriotism, flag etiquette, and education. We’d like to be part of that conversation,” said Brian Willette of the VFW Department of Massachusetts.
The American flag is flying again at Hampshire College, but for many veterans, the controversy still isn’t over. “That was the goal, okay so the goal was achieved, and in some ways they achieved their goal,” said Vietnam Veteran Delfo Barabani Jr. “If they wanted a dialogue and that’s what they claim, we’re here for it. Start making contact with some of the organizations.”
The veterans in western Massachusetts said their entire goal was to see the American flag fly again at Hampshire College. While the flag is back up, they still said they’re not sure the overall discussion is completely done.
The veterans who protested Hampshire College’s decision to remove the American flag told 22News they’re still disappointed with how the college handled the entire incident.
For some veterans, it wasn’t about the length of time it took to reinstate the flag, it was about the conversation they wanted to have with the students who wanted the flag removed to begin with.
“If it’s something they had to process for their benefit, so be it, but it’s back up, and we’re offering, we’re offering our participation in their campus discussion,” said Willette.
The veterans have not cancelled the protest that was planned for this weekend, but instead it will be a celebration.