Skip to comments.Flag display causes ruckus at Holy Cross
Posted on 10/01/2001 4:06:24 PM PDT by Lecie
Flag display causes ruckus at Holy Cross
Monday, October 01, 2001
By Emilie Astell
Worcester (Mass) Telegram & Gazette Staff
WORCESTER-- Margaret Post took an American flag to work three days after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks to mourn the death of Todd Beamer, a close personal friend who was a passenger on United Airlines Flight 93 when the hijacked jet crashed in rural Pennsylvania.
She did not realize, she said Thursday, that by hanging the flag in a second-floor hallway of Beavens Hall at the College of the Holy Cross she would cause a commotion. Instead of allowing the flag to remain in place, Royce Singleton, chairman of the college's Sociology Department, asked Mrs. Post, a secretary in the department, to take it down.
He took it down, folded it and placed the flag on her desk, she said.
I was doing a very patriotic thing on a national day of mourning, she said. Her only intention, she added, was to mourn the death of a friend and honor his memory.
Mrs. Post's husband, Robert, worked with Mr. Beamer at Oracle Corp. Mrs. Post and Lisa Beamer had accompanied their husbands on a business trip to Europe and returned home on Sept. 10.
Todd Beamer is believed to have been one of the passengers who tried to stop the hijackers. He called his wife on a cellphone minutes before the plane crashed, telling her that he and others planned to overpower the terrorists.
Mrs. Beamer was honored Sept. 20 at the Capitol during President Bush's address to the nation and received a standing ovation when she was introduced by the president.
Mr. Singleton acknowledged in an interview Thursday afternoon that he had taken the flag down, but declined to explain his reasons, saying that there was nothing to discuss with anyone outside the college.
I don't want to get into why it happened, he said. It was a decision I very much regret having made for many reasons.
Mrs. Post said she explained to Mr. Singleton that she was mourning a friend, but he told her that displaying the flag would make some students uncomfortable. After the incident, she received a letter from Mr. Singleton in which he expressed remorse, she said.
Mr. Singleton denied Thursday night that he said anything about students to Mrs. Post.
There is nothing that I can say that will make anybody understand the social context in which this occurred, he said.
There was still lingering shock, anxiety and anger that Friday, he said. Seeing the flag in the hallway upset him, he added, and stirred certain emotions in me. He did not elaborate on what kinds of emotions he experienced.
Two other professors in the department, whom Mrs. Post declined to identify, agreed with Mr. Singleton that the flag should be removed, she said.
The incident upset Mrs. Post and prompted her to leave the campus before lunchtime that Friday, Sept. 14. She returned to work the following Wednesday.
I started the day in honor and left in embarrassment and tears, the Auburn resident said. I'm a very patriotic person. I fly an American flag outside my home every day with a light on it.
When she returned to work, Mrs. Post met with Mr. Singleton and Stephen C. Ainlay, dean of the college. An agreement was reached allowing Mrs. Post to display a flag in her office. She now has a small flag on top of her desk.
Holy Cross spokeswoman Katherine B. McNamara called the incident a knee-jerk reaction on the part of Mr. Singleton and one that does not characterize the college.
The campus is filled with American flags, she said Thursday night. Holy Cross stands for academic freedom.
As news of the incident spread through Beavens Hall, Mrs. Post said, an employee in the psychology department, which is on the third floor of the building, retrieved the flag that had been taken down. The flag was then displayed in the third-floor hallway, with no objections.
An employee at Holy Cross for eight years, Mrs. Post said she still enjoys working there, although it has been stressful since the incident.
I know the professors in the department had a different interpretation of the flag than I have, she said, but it's not every day a secretary stands up to professors.
I've worked with doctors, lawyers and college PhD's and by far and away, the latter are the most unreasonable and jerkish of the three groups. They truly have bought into themselves, believing that they know everything about everything.
Send all students home who are uncomfortable about are flag being displayed.
You g.d. right, punk.
Or Havana or Tehran.
You guys smell that?
I think there is a Freep just waiting to happen!
OK who has the E-mail and Snail Maill addresses?
Wanted to try out this new Palm Handheld anyhow!
Ok who has got the goods? Post it and we can get this show on the road!
The second comment is completely irrelevant to the first. Academic freedom is not the issue here.
Not that I would encourage writing Professor Singleton. But if you must, please do be very, very polite. There's nothing that a liberal hates more than a polite conservative.
The (More er Less) Honorable Billybob,
cyberCongressman from Western Carolina
For a clear discussion of the difference between what the US can constitutionally do in wartime with aliens (but NOT with US citizens of foreign extraction), see my book, Manzanar, published in 1988.
I wonder how THAT would be received at Holy Cross. Academic freedom and all that.
Well, that explains a lot.
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