This week, the Wrentham Housing Authority in Wrentham, Massachusetts, banned the open display of the American flag.
On Wednesday, a letter was posted on the residents’ doors at the Garden Lane Housing Complex that told the residents not to display their flags publicly, saying:
“Due to a tenant’s repeated complaints reported to the Department of Housing and Community Development over the July 4th holiday, Wrentham Housing Authority has been informed that the public display of the American Flag in common areas is not permitted. As a result, all American flag displays must be restricted to the interior of your apartment. Flags may be visible through the apartment windows but may not be displayed on the exterior of the buildings or on the ground around the buildings.”
Furious residents complained to the Housing Authority. Some even contacted the office of Senator Scott Brown, who lives nearby and consequently responded:
“Our flag stands for freedom, and is a symbol of the sacrifice made by our servicemen and women to protect the liberties we enjoy today. Flying the American flag should never be controversial, and no citizen should ever be prevented from doing so. I was deeply disturbed to learn of this misguided decision, and I call on the responsible authorities to undo this regulation immediately.”
Shockingly, no one at the Authority knew who had written the letter, but Department of Housing and Community Development spokesman Jason Lefferts quickly apologized late Thursday morning:
“We were not aware of this decision when it was made, and it was a mistake that is being corrected immediately. Department of Housing and Community Development policy for local housing authorities includes not allowing displays of private materials in public areas. This does not extend to respectful and safe displays of the American flag.”
Still, why is it that the immediate response to anti-flag protesters isn’t “Sit down and shut up, knucklehead”?