A student’s plans to burn an American flag on the LSU campus were cut short when thousands of combative counter demonstrators arrived on scene, prompting police to escort the student to safety.I hope the attitudes of Haas and Eslava are the rarity these days. And, according to LSU student government president Cody Wells, they just might be.
Crowds wearing red, white and blue and chanting “U-S-A” threw water balloons and ice at Benjamin Haas, a communication studies graduate student, while he tried to read a prepared statement in front of an estimated crowd of 1,500 to 2,500 students and community members.
Haas publicized the event on Facebook and obtained a permit for peaceful protest from the university, according to LSU Media Relations Director Ernie Ballard. But when he found out he also needed a burn permit from the city to set fire to a flag, he decided to read a statement instead – but the rival protesters still would not let up.
Haas organized the protest in response to the arrest of fellow LSU student Isaac Eslava, who was charged last week for taking the American flag at the Baton Rouge campus’ historic War Memorial and burning it hours after news of Usama bin Laden’s killing by U.S. Navy Seals.
“My main message behind all of this is that it’s time for my generation and our society to start speaking up so that the minority voice does not always seem like the loudest voice,” Wells said. “(Haas) did have right to burn the flag, but it was not an honorable thing for him to do and our student body and fellow Louisianans made that very clear today as they rallied on campus to show support for our county.”I have nothing to add to that sentiment. I can only back it up with the earnest words of Wang Chi: "Here's to the Army and Navy and the battles they have won; here's to America's colors, the colors that never run."