September 11: A day of remembrance and protest
While students like U.S. Army veteran Michael Brawner, a junior studying political science, were saluting the flag last Tuesday morning, lives were in danger halfway around the world.
Protests erupted outside United States embassies in Egypt and Libya after a video was released on YouTube, adding fuel to the rising conflict and discontent with America in the Middle East.
The 14-minute YouTube video, considered by some as anti-Islam propaganda, depicted Muhammad as a boorish womanizer and pedophile was originally released in June. In the past weeks, the video has been translated into Arabic and additionally uploaded, providing access to many people within these Middle Eastern countries.
Tuesday’s attack cost the lives of four people including U.S. ambassador Chris Stevens and two U.S. Marines.
Because of the video, people nearly 50 Middle Eastern countries are protesting U.S. embassies and institutions.
Some students like Gabe Moore, a junior studying exercise physiology, are angry at the protesting countries.
“It’s stupid that other countries are reacting the way they are,” said Moore. “We used to be friends with Egypt not too long ago, and now they are angry at all of America.”
And though some students may be unaware of what is happening with America’s middle eastern neighbors, some have strong opinions about the aftermath of the Youtube video.
Kaitlin Knapp, a senior studying English Education said she thought the Founding Fathers intended us to have basic rights to express personal opinions and edify the nation.
“Freedom of speech is meant to be used as something good, and if you infringe on other people’s rights, you’ve gone too far,” Knapp said.
Investigations are examining evidence of the attack being scheduled for Sept. 11. Whether or not the attack was initially planned for what is now known as Patriot’s Day remains unseen.
But students on campus were able to share their pride for their country and more than 10,000 lives that were lost in the 9/11 attacks 11 years ago, and the subsequent conflicts.
A memorial was held in the amphitheater on Tuesday morning.
For Sydney Jensen, a freshman studying communication, she said it felt like a slap in the face when she made the connection of the recent attacks and the day of remembrance.
“My heart went out to all the people who had to deal with the conflict,” she said.