The following was a letter to the editor that "The Daily Californian" agreed to print Tuesday, September 10th, but did not appear.
Immediately following the attacks of September 11th, citizens of the world rallied in support of America. In Jerusalem, people gathered to donate blood for the wounded and voted to change the name of their city's main avenue to "New York Street." As Old Glory was hoisted above the Kremlin and displayed in windows around the globe, British Prime Minister Tony Blair said: "Today, we are all Americans."
Nearly one year later, Democratic Minority Leader Dick Gephardt stood before the stars and stripes in a special session of Congress in New York and proclaimed, "On September 11th there are no Republicans. There are no Democrats. There are only Americans."
It was with Congressman Gephardt's patriotic, non-political approach to the one year anniversary of September 11th that members of the Berkeley College Republicans and California Patriot were shocked and outraged to learn that campus 9/11 organizers were intentionally excluding all red, white, and blue from its official, University-scripted plans. The rationale behind this decision, as represented in recorded statements to the Patriot by Jessica Quindel - a former Cal-SERVE Senator and member of the Berkeley Anti-War Coalition - was because the American flag was too divisive and exclusionary.
We strongly feel that the original exclusion of red, white, and blue ribbons, along with patriotic songs, ignored the national unity that was born in the wake of 9/11, and the inspirational way Americans responded to these tragic events with their thoughts, prayers, and charitable giving.
As concerned students, we attended last Wednesday night's ASUC Senate meeting to express these feelings to our elected student representatives, and it was after being rebuffed by student planners that the California Patriot published a newsworthy and factually accurate account of the University's plans to distribute white ribbons and exclude patriotic songs - an account validated in interviews and recorded statements.
A day later, after quickly gaining national attention, Chancellor Berdahl fully endorsed our position, and announced that there would be red, white, and blue ribbons at the memorial services. We wholeheartedly agree with the Chancellor's decision and are thankful that he reconsidered the University's approach to 9/11.
It is our hope that on Wednesday, students will reflect on the tragic events of a year ago; honor those whose lives were lost, and join with the entire world as Americans.
Berkeley College Republicans