Firefighter, student forced to take down American flag on 9/11 anniversary

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

READING, Pa. — A college student and firefighter says he was told by two resident assistants to remove an American flag he and his roommates had hung from their on-campus townhouse on 9/11.

Zach Zechman, a senior at Alvernia University in Reading, Pa., told WCAU he was also a firefighter, and that he and his friends hung the flag from their second-story window “in honor of the 343 firefighters” who were killed on Sep. 11, 2001. The U.S. observed the 14th anniversary of the deadly attacks on Friday.

A Facebook page appearing to be that of Zechman’s shows several photos of him in firefighter gear, with a status update Friday that said:

“my school, Alvernia university, told me I’m not allowed to fly a American flag out the window of my house. even on a day like today. this schools a joke”

Zechman told the station two resident assistants came to him and his roommates after a couple of hours of the flag hanging and told them to remove it. He added that they brought with them a copy of the student handbook that prohibits objects hanging from windows.

Carey Manzolillo, the university’s associate director of communications, said the residents assistants were in the right. She said in an email to WCAU:

“American flags are welcome and flying throughout Alvernia’s campus at half-staff in honor of the day. Our student policy does however state that sheets, banners or other such objects may not be hung outside of windows or on the exterior portion of any residence hall.”

Zechman said he took the flag down, but is now trying to set up a meeting with the university’s dean of students to try and change the policy to allow flag-hanging on certain occasions.

“I want it to be different for a day like today, where something like that means something,” Zechman told WCAU.