The American flag has been the subject of several controversies across the nation. Such is the case in Lexington, South Carolina. A business owner put up 10 American flags in front of his establishment, which immediately brought a visit from local authorities to advise him he was in violation of a city ordinance.
Bob Michaelis of Michaelis Mattress Company in Lexington says he was asked to remove the patriotic display because it violates a 1999 town ordinance. According to the town ordinance, only three flags that are not duplicates of each other can be displayed in “restricted and intense development districts.”
Michaelis, a Marine, says he wanted to “show appreciation to our troops” with the display.
“We got 10 flags up,” Michaelis said. “I thought maybe it was about time we return to the patriotism in America. There’s not enough of it. It seems to be lost.”
The Mayor of Lexington, Steve MacDougall, took exception to the WISTV story with this Facebook post:
“In response to the Article that has so many upset, let me be perfectly clear – The Chief of Police, the most respected law enforcement officer in the community, was asked to go by and speak with the store owner about the display and to inform him of the ordinance, we never forced or asked him to take down the flags.
We were not given a chance by WIS to respond to this claim until 1:45 when they called while I was meeting with Britt Poole. The ordinance has been on the books since 1999 when Council at the time acted on a negative situation involving the Confederate Flag that required them to create todays guidelines for all flags.
It is never our intent to interfere with a business but we have a duty to protect our community and we do that with great pride. We have members of our community that have fought, and died for our freedom to display this great symbol of our United States of America.
Please, if the intent was to honor those than by all means do so but do not use this symbol as an advertising piece for your fourth of July sale. The Lexington store is the only store that has this display – if it were truly a display to “honor the troops” it would be at all four stores.
To those of you who continue to comment and hurl allegations about situations that arise in our great town, all I ask is that you hear the facts before you pass judgement on those of us who serve you.”
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In other words, when people threw a fit and caused trouble, the city caved. Why is it relevant to say that a business owner has to fly flags at every store in order to prove he is “honoring the troops?”
Mr. Michaelis stated that he understands the ordinance was meant “to keep us all safe,” but that the city should be “more flexible on holidays.”
I don’t know how South Carolina lives, but out here, the flag and all sorts of renditions of it are flown everywhere during holidays. Whether it’s for advertising or patriotism, there are flags flying – especially on the 4th of July weekend- in nearly every doctor’s office and business across our city. In fact, American flags literally line our downtown business district in a lovely display every year. We are proud to be Americans.
Mr. MacDougall, grow up, get a spine, and tell the people who don’t like America or our flag to get out before the real fireworks start.
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