A Lexington, SC business owner says he is being told to remove the 10 American flags he put up outside of his business to celebrate the upcoming Fourth of July holiday, WISTV reports.
Bob Michaelis of Michaelis Mattress Company says he was asked to remove his display because it violates a 1999 town ordinance, which states only three flags that are not duplicates of each other can be displayed in “restricted and intense development districts.”
“We got 10 flags up,” Michaelis, a former Marine, told a WISTV reporter. “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.”
Lexington Police Department let Michaelis know the display violated the ordinance, and told him to remove the flags.
“I put them up yesterday and the city and the town of Lexington says they got to come down because there’s an ordinance in place,” Michaelis said.
Even though violation of the ordinance could cost him in fines, Michaelis does not plan to take the flags down.
“I think we should respect the ordinance,” Michaelis admitted to the reporter. “They’re there to protect everybody. I think that a little lenience on special holidays would be great.”
Lexington Mayor Steve MacDougall released the following statement regarding the flag display on his Facebook page:
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.
Mayor Steve MacDougall
On Tuesday, it was reported that a man in Colorado was told to take down his American flag display, deemed equivalent to clutter, from his apartment balcony.
Follow Trent Baker on Twitter @MagnifiTrent