Frat Boys Spit on Wounded Vet and Desecrate American Flag

The Vietnam Memorial
The Vietnam Memorial. Panama City Beach spring breakers spit on Vietnam veterans. (Flickr/Creative Commons)

Investigations have been launched at two universities over accusations that fraternity members taunted wounded war heroes, urinated on an American flag, and spit on a wounded veteran and his service dog in Panama City Beach, Florida.

The April 17 incident, involving Zeta Beta Tau fraternity members from the University of Florida and Emory University, has infuriated residents of Panama City.

"They were being treated like the Vietnam veterans were treated," said Linda Cope, the founder of the Warrior Beach Retreat.

The local charity provides an annual all-expense-paid vacation for more than a 100 combat-wounded warriors and their spouses or caregivers. All of the expenses are covered by Panama City Beach residents and businesses. 

Cope tells me the fraternity members were staying in the same resort—and caused a night of mayhem. The college kids made derogatory comments about the warriors' wives, threw items off balconies and desecrated an American flag.

She also said one of the warriors and his service dog were spit on.

Television station WJHG identified that man as Nicholas Connole.

"They actually spit on me and my service dog as well, and that's just so disrespectful and it hurts," he told the television station.

There were local reports of frat boys throwing beer on veterans and ripping an American flag out of the ground.

"This happened because of two fraternities causing heartache for these warriors and that should never have happened—never happened," Cope said. "Shame on them. There was no excuse."

Reaction has been swift.

Zeta Beta Tau International confirmed that three members of the University of Florida chapter have been expelled from the fraternity and both university chapters have suspended all activities.

"There is no doubt that some of our members engaged in ugly and unacceptable behavior," Executive Director Laurence Bolotin wrote in a statement. "Their actions have no place in ZBT or anywhere, and they will not be tolerated."

Bolotin issued a personal apology to the veterans and their families as well as the Warrior Beach Retreat organization—calling the behavior disgusting.

"I am deeply saddened that the actions of our members ruined this special event and failed to show the respect our military and their families deserve," he wrote.

To the fraternity's credit, they have promised to make amends for what they called a "disgraceful situation."

W. Kent Fuchs, the president of the University of Florida, wrote a personal apology to Cope and the Warrior Beach Retreat.

"I can only imagine the pain and indignity of enduring this behavior," he wrote. "I want to assure you that it is not representative of our students or our university and we will make every effort to learn more, take appropriate action and prevent similar incidents from occurring again."

Emory University, on the other hand, said it cannot confirm that any of their students were involved in the despicable behavior.

"If any members of our community are identified as being responsible, they will be held accountable for their actions by the university," read a statement from the Georgia school.

Cope told me the residents of Panama City Beach are "up in arms about what happened."

"This community is so patriotic and supportive," she said. "The fraternities are learning a hard lesson. You don't treat these men and women who have sacrificed so much for your freedom like that."

Todd Starnes is host of "Fox News & Commentary," heard on hundreds of radio stations. Sign up for his American Dispatch newsletter, be sure to join his Facebook page, and follow him on Twitter. His latest book is God Less America.

 


To contact us or to submit an article, click here.


Get Charisma's best content delivered right to your inbox! Never miss a big news story again. Click here to subscribe to the Charisma News newsletter.

Five ways to deepen your relationship with God, increase your faith and save money!

  • Deepen Your Relationship with God with a FREE eCourse: Click Here to view all of our free e-Courses. Favorite topics include Fear, Forgiveness, Holy Spirit, Supernatural, and How to Hear God.
  • Super Discounts and Close-Out Specials: Click Here to view all our bundles and close-out specials and save up to 86%! Prayer, Holy Spirit, Anointing, the Supernatural and more.
  • God Wants to Anoint Women Now: Rise up and enter the anointing of Deborah, Anna, Esther, Ruth and Hannah. You were called to go higher. Click Here to learn more.
  • Change Your Atmosphere and Circumstances Through Prayer! John Eckhardt's prayer bundle gives you six powerful books to help you pray and change any situation. Click Here.
  • HUGE Bible Sale!: Click Here to save up to 50% off a great selection of Bibles. Plus, get a free gift with each order!

Subscription Special: Subscribe to Charisma for Only $24.97 and get a free gift. With your subscription, you'll receive Born For Significance by best-selling author Bill Johnson. View Offer

Attention Pastors and Leaders: Leadership training and development are crucial for success. Enroll in a FREE 1-hour leadership mini-course by Dr. Mark Rutland. View Details

Charisma News - Informing believers with news from a Spirit-filled perspective