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Tragedy hits home

The flag in front of the Rotunda looks a little bit different.

With the statue of Thomas Jefferson in the backdrop, both the American and Virginian flags have been flying at half-mast as tribute to the 17 men aboard the USS Cole who were killed last Thursday. The USS Cole suffered a severe rupture in its lower deck when a dingy full of explosives rode up along side the boat and detonated. Many suspect the attack was an act of terrorism aimed directly at the United States.

President Clinton and Governor Gilmore sent the University police a teletype announcement requesting the flags to be flown at half mast in their memory, University Police Captain Michael Coleman said.

The University Police Department is responsible for the flags that fly in front of the Rotunda. The request to fly a flag at half-mast goes directly to the University Police. Coleman also noted that the only way in which a flag can be flown at half-mast is from the request of the Governor of Virginia or the president.

Many of the injured sailors from the USS Cole returned to Virginia's Norfolk Naval Station Sunday after undergoing treatment in a military hospital in Germany.

The naval band and some 1,500 soldiers greeted the injured sailors as they reached Virginia.

Meanwhile, President Clinton sat down at the negotiating table with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in Egypt yesterday.

The leaders of Israel and Palestine met to discuss the recent violent outbreaks that threaten hope for long term peace and stability in the Middle East.

By Corey Simpson

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