In the Spring of 1970, student radicalism and anti-Americanism stood at their height on American college campuses. Today such attitudes are more in the province of the faculty room than the student body. But as the new decade of the seventies opened there were relatively few students on college campuses who were both motivated and willing to speak out publicly for traditional values and the normal patriotic feelings of most Americans. There were fewer still willing to take action.

Among those willing to act, however, were a group of conservative students at Yale University. When radical disturbances arrived in full vigor at the Yale campus in New Haven, Connecticut on May Day, 1970 and continued through the days that followed, conservatives rose to the occasion. Kevin McKeegan recounted the episode:

“On [our] shoulders rested the task of organizing resistance at Yale. During the awful first week of May, 1970 [we] saved the American flag from desecration both at Beinecke Plaza and at the ROTC building. This defeat of some four hundred by ten probably better points up the physical weakness of the Left than the immense vitality of the Right. Still, let it be remembered with fondness.”

May Day disturbances at Yale, 1970
May Day disturbances at Yale, 1970: Student Radicals pull down the American flag in front of Yale’s ROTC building.
Conservative students intervene. As radicals prepare to burn the flag, conservative students intervene. (The conservatives are the ones in coats and ties.) A scuffle for the flag ensues.
 The conservatives triumphant.
The conservatives triumphant! Kevin McKeegan, Yale '71, holds the rescued flag. Pat Quinn, Yale '72, appears to the right, partly concealed by the flag.