Local veterans celebrate decision to fly American Flag

Veterans say they welcome discussion of the American flag and its meaning to veterans and students

AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 754 in Amherst held a small celebration after Hampshire College put the flag back up the American flag. Leaders told 22News they have a reason to celebrate.

The red, white and blue that they fought for is flying proudly once again on the Hampshire College flagpole. The college put the flag back up Friday morning after three weeks of controversy.

American flag flying again at Hampshire College

Veterans stood outside of the VFW to express their appreciation and to extend an olive branch to Hampshire College students. They told 22News they would welcome continued discussions on the meaning of the flag and invited the students to sit down an learn what Old Glory means to them.

“I think it’s great. I think it’s amazing and I think it’s a reason to celebrate,” Senior Vice Commander Gamalier Rosa said. “There was no reason for the flag to come down to begin with. As a veteran, and to all the veterans who have given support to us throughout our demonstration, I think it was disrespectful.”

Post Commander Victor Nunez Ortiz told 22News he will heading to North Dakota next week to protest the construction of the North Dakota access pipeline cutting off resources to native american tribes and he invited Hampshire College students to go down there and stand alongside him in protest.

The VFW, above all, wants to keep the dialogue open.