Every year the community of Panama City funds the ‘Warrior Beach Retreat’ for 100 combat wounded veterans and their spouses. It’s a trip to the beach for soldiers who were injured in the line of duty that in no way makes up for the sacrifices they made for our great country, but it’s a show of respect and a thank you for their service. This year the Warrior Beach Retreat coincided with members from the Zeta Beta Tau chapters at the University of Florida and Emory University staying at the same resort, showing a horrid lack of respect for our veterans and their wives, as well as a desecration of the American flag.
FOX News was first to report:
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.
If there’s one thing we in America care more about than our people, it’s our dogs. Not only did this fuckwads harass a veteran, they also spit on his dog? In addition to being expelled from the ZBT they should face their University’s administrators.
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.
The only silver lining here is that the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity took swift action in condemning the disgusting acts by the three members, taking responsibility, and issuing a statement. They are not shying from the fact that three of their brothers acted like complete scumbags, and instead they’re facing this scandal head on as they should.
“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 you’ve never been to Panama City Beach, aside from PCB being home to incredible shark fishing one thing you should know is that Panama City is an EXTREMELY patriotic city. With many of the town’s citizens having deep ties to the military. So I wouldn’t be shocked if this fraternity is never welcome in PCB again, and rightfully so.
As for the punishment they may face for desecrating and pissing on the American Flag, here’s the penalty they may be facing (18 U.S. Code § 700 – Desecration of the flag of the United States; penalties):
“Whoever knowingly mutilates, defaces, physically defiles, burns, maintains on the floor or ground, or tramples upon any flag of the United States shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for not more than one year, or both.”
The good news is that if you want to be a donor for the ‘Warrior Beach Retreat’ and help send next year’s 100 combat wounded veterans and their spouses, you can do so by following this link to their website.