Photographs can speak volumes, and one of the loudest messages being communicated this week comes from images of students at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill protecting the American flag.

On Tuesday, anti-Israel protestors pulled down Old Glory from Chapel Hill’s Quad and replaced it with the Palestinian flag. Adding to the disgust and outrage, the American flag had been flying at half-mast to mourn the deaths of four Charlotte police officers killed in the line of duty.

As university officials stepped in to pull down the Palestinian flag and restore the Stars and Stripes to its rightful place atop the pole, members of the Pi Kappa Phi and Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternities moved to protect the effort from an angry mob pelting the workers. Fraternity brothers also prevented the flag from touching the ground.

The Pi Kappa Phi fraternity dates to 1904, and was called “Nu Phi” which meant, “non-fraternity.” It seems the three young men who began it in Charleston, South Carolina, were frustrated by what they believed to be cliques in power. Rather than curse the darkness, so to speak, they decided to show leadership and start their own group. Within four years, the fraternity had chapters all over the country.

The Alpha Epsilon fraternity began a few years later at New York University’s School of Commerce in 1913. The group was started as a means to minister to Jewish young men and provide them with a like-minded community.

Members of the Chapel Hills chapters of both groups are being hailed as a platoon of American heroes. A GoFundMe site was even set up to honor their efforts. As of Thursday morning, the site has raised over $400,000.

Organizers of the site pull no punches in their rhetoric on the site, noting “Commie losers across the country have invaded college campuses to make dumb demands of weak University Administrators.”

The dollars raised are supposed to help fund “a party they deserve, a party worth of the boat-shoed Broleteriat who did their country proud.”

The dangers and wisdom of an alcohol fused party notwithstanding, the outpouring of support directed to these young men reflects the nation’s hunger for leadership and its gratefulness that amid the cultural darkness, there are still upstanding, patriotic young Americans on watch and on the way up.

Brendan Rosenblum told NewsNation, “All of us felt that America, and the American flag — and for me, the Israeli flag — represent what we believe in,” he said. “And we weren’t going to let anyone stop us from keeping those two things up.”

He added:

“I think it’s important that we all stand up for what we believe in. I think fraternity members get a bad rap. But in the end, we have a brotherhood … and no matter what happens, we’re going to stand by that.”

The constant drumbeat of negativity can be wearisome and worrisome, but the image of young men surrounding and protecting the American flagpole at UNC Chapel Hill should put a lift in your step and some hope in your heart this week.


Image credit: UNC Chapel Hill GoFundMe