Thank God for those Tar Heel boys

Published May 9, 2024

By Frank Hill

Gen. Robert E. Lee wrote a letter to North Carolina Gov. Zebulon Vance after the Battle of Reams Station in Virginia praising his state’s soldiers for their bravery during the siege of Petersburg late in the Civil War and is attributed as commenting: “Thank God for those Tar Heel boys.”

We may be all thanking God for those Tar Heel boys who protected the American flag and sang the national anthem last week.

It was the first time in recent memory when anyone could remember a spontaneous organic student-led response to the oft-vitriolic, hate-filled protests from young students who are being deliberately misled by paid progressive socialist agitators. Many mainstream students have been afraid to counteract or confront these angry protests for fear of physical harm as well as being punished for not adhering to the politically correct meme of the day.

Remember “All Lives Matter”? Anyone who dared to say such a thing during the “Black Lives Matter” demonstrations of 2020 after the death of George Floyd was summarily “canceled” and ostracized for exercising their right to free speech on and off-campus. Every university president who allowed such First Amendment infringement on their campus should have resigned or been replaced long ago.

Moderate, sentient Democrats used to be supportive of free speech and civil liberties for everyone. Apparently, they really are extinct today because none of them speak out against the anti-Israel protests or defend the right to free speech for those who disagree with the radical groupthink topic of the month selected by the far-left socialist progressives.

The Tar Heel boys put an end to such unchecked hate-filled protests at Polk Place on the UNC Chapel Hill campus on April 30. It was spontaneous; it was peaceful, but it was powerful.

No fraternity or organization held a meeting to take a vote to go over to the Quad to defend America. One participant said he was just about to embark on Last Day of Classes festivities (“had just cracked open a cold beer”) when he found out that mischief was afoot. He ended up at the flagpole along with several others, including the now-famous Pi Kappa Phi brothers.

One of the pro-Hamas, anti-Israel protestors had a tool to use to release the flag, which means they came prepared and well-trained by professional community agitators to take down the flag as an act of defiance on public property. When Chancellor Lee Roberts, with protection from campus police, hoisted the American flag after it had been taken down the first time, one of the protestors released tension in the line and it started to descend back down. When the flag started to fall, the students who had come to watch instinctively knew to catch the falling flag and never let it hit the ground, no doubt from their days as Boy Scouts or from any civics class they may have had in school before college.

After Roberts told the protestors that as long as he was chancellor at Carolina, the American flag would never be replaced on that flagpole and was sent back up for a second time, the PiKa brothers and others started singing the national anthem, albeit maybe not in the right key the whole way through.

Several were quoted as saying they had no problem with the protestors exercising their right to free speech, no matter how abhorrent they thought their antisemitic, anti-Israel, anti-Jewish chants were. What they had a real problem with was when the protestors chose to violate established rules of peaceful protest on campus and make it difficult for students to attend the last day of classes (which were subsequently canceled due to the unruly crowd) and denying others their right of free expression with intimidation tactics.

Much has been made of the $500,000 that has been raised by an outside effort through GoFundMe to help pay for a “rager” beer party for these brothers. Most of that money will find its way to charitable causes because even in the heyday of UNC beer-drinking, no fraternity could drink a half-million dollars’ worth of beer in one evening no matter how hard they might try ― although many certainly tried.

Future historians hopefully will look back and cite the actions of The Tar Heel boys on April 30 as the turning point on college campuses nationwide when sanity prevailed. Perhaps it will become known as The Day They Drove Progressive Socialists Down.