Panama City Beach, Florida – Zeta Beta Tau Fraternity from the University of Florida and Emory University is under investigation for an incident in which members spit on a wounded veteran and his service dog, and urinated on an American flag on April 17. And that’s not all of the disrespect shown to the 100 veterans present that weekend.
Warrior Beach Retreat
According to WJHG news, the warriors were there for an event that occurs twice a year. Local businesses ante up to bring the wounded veterans to the “Warrior Beach Retreat” for a much-deserved vacation. But this year, it wasn’t much of a “retreat.”
Pitching beer off balconies at the veterans, disrespecting the flag, spitting on them, all served to make the men feel like our Vietnam Veterans felt when they returned home. And the community is unhappy about it- they are a patriotic community who has welcomed the veterans for years, even raising money for the project.
“They actually spit on me and my service dog as well, and that’s just so disrespectful and it hurts. I come and I feel honored and I feel safe and that I belong, but now I feel like I’m defending myself,” said wounded veteran Nicholas Connole.
Veterans say they were shocked at the level of disrespect these college students had. They told me that they threw beer on them from their balconies and even spit on them.
Linda Cope, founder of the Warrior Beach Retreat, says she’s never seen such disgusting behavior.
“They’re a total disgrace for our military,” she siad. “They were urinating on the American flag they were throwing things off of the balconies.”
These injured soldiers were staying at the Lake Town Wharf Resort at the same time students in the fraternity Zeta Beta Tau from the University of Florida and Emory University were in town for their spring formal.
“I have not stood up and said anything about spring break because we constantly want to get the support of the community, but if this is at all indicative of what these college students do we need to get rid of it,” said Cope.
Veterans say it comes down to respect for our country.
“There was a group of very intoxicated college kids that actually ripped the American flag out of the ground and was trying to run around with it.”
Expelled- but is it enough?
Fox News’ Todd Starnes also wrote,
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.
Deeper than ruining a vacation
Ruining the event is only one aspect of this incident. The lack of respect -even if the kids were blasted- is rampant in America today throughout schools, colleges, and universities. We have lost the honor and respect for military in our society. Though the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity has vowed to make it right, there is a moral issue at play in this incident. Our students from the youngest ages are being taught that America is evil. Our foundations are rapidly being destroyed.
“This community is so patriotic and supportive. 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.” Linda Cope, Warrior Beach Retreat