Well Airmale, my partner works at American Express headquarters in New York, which is across the street from the World Trade Center. He was on the 48th floor when this all happened, was still in the building when the first tower collapsed, and walked with thousands of people covered in ash and dust to the northern part of Manhattan. The Amex building sustained heavy damage, and the CEO of Amex has said the decision has not been made whether to return to the building once it is fixed in several months. Amex has moved their employees to other offices around the NY area (primarily Jersey City and Connecticut). Amex lost 11 employees in the disaster who were in the WTC complex.
My point is this has been extremely traumatic on the people who worked in the headquarters building. Although Amex is one of those typical big corporate giants will all the accompanying disfunctional corporate processes that don't seem to make sense, I think this is one time where a directive like this is understandable. This isn't about "American freedom." This is about an employer saying to its employees "Hey, your colleagues here need your support and words of sympathy." A company is not a democracy. If your employer makes a request of you, you do it (unless it is illegal).
Airmale, you are entitled to your opinion, and in this forum you have made no secret of your criticism of America, and I have to respect that you have the right to do that. After all, I can see why America would seem beneath you since you live in the glorious country of Pakistan that we all know is so free and democratic and has made such a positive impact on the world. (What is the name again of the military dictator that took over your country last year? It has slipped my mind.) Anyway, I find it offensive that you are really stretching this time to criticize America through this example. If your friend feels as you do, perhaps he/she should find another employer.
An unexamined life isn't worth living.