UNC-Chapel Hill Students Praised For Saving American Flag From Anti-Israel Protesters: ‘This Is America’
Pro-Palestinian demonstrators replace an American flag with a Palestinian flag Tuesday, April 30, 2024 at UNC-Chapel Hill. Police removed a "Gaza solidarity encampment" earlier Tuesday morning.
Travis Long / News & Observer / Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill were praised this week for rushing in to save an American flag from being destroyed by anti-Israel protesters on campus who were seeking to tear it down.

In what became an instantly iconic photo that was viewed across social media tens of millions of times, a group of young men could be seen holding the large flag, preventing it from touching the ground.

Student Guillermo Estrada wrote that he was walking to class when he noticed a Palestinian flag had been “raised on our quad flag pole,” causing him to become “immediately upset.” He said school officials and police officers “were met with profanity, middle fingers” and “thrown bottles” when they arrived to re-hoist the American flag. But the protesters persisted, he said.


Estrada said his Pi Kappa Phi fraternity brothers and others protected the American flag when protesters tried to remove it again and were “preparing to destroy it.”

“People began throwing water bottles at us, rocks, sticks, calling us profane names. We stood for an hour defending the flag so many fight to protect.”

Numerous notable public figures weighed in on the photo, praising the young men for standing up for their country.

“This is America. 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸,” said Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). “Not the hatred & bigotry right now on college campuses. This 👇”

Donald Trump Jr. posted on X: “I stand with the college students who proudly put the American flag back up, not the radicals who tore it down!”


“So proud of Guillermo and all those at UNC who bravely protected our American flag today,” said Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC). “This is what being a proud American looks like.”

Sen. Eric Schmitt (R-MO) posted: “God bless America.🇺🇸”

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