To the Editor:

Meghan Clyne (“Modern-day Yalies shirk patriotism, duty” 10/11) was misguided in her opinions about patriotism. Yalies are not unpatriotic by not endorsing the president’s decision to retaliate against the Taliban.

We cannot afford to respond to the Sept. 11 attacks by becoming a nation where people refrain from expressing their opinions, no matter how controversial these opinions are. A soldier does not go to war to protect the American flag — he goes to war to protect what the flag stands for. Hanging an American flag does not make you a patriot, holding your country to the principles on which it was founded does.

Assenting to a war one does not believe in is the most unpatriotic thing one could do right now.

People who do not support the war express their dissent not because they are ashamed of their country, but because they wish to stop the loss of more innocent lives.

It is most important that in the wake of Sept. 11, we all strive more than we ever have to hold our country to its principles. It is through this that we truly show our patriotism.

Bola Olupona ’04

October 12, 2001