We get flag stories a lot. From people getting evicted for displaying a flag in their apartment window in Oregon, to veterans forcibly taking down a Mexican flag flying higher than an American flag in Nevada. Now tempers are flaring in Florida over a version of the American flag flying in Lake County. A veterans group says the flag is an outrage. The flag, which features a picture of President Obama, was taken down Tuesday afternoon.
Korean war veteran Don Van Beck said his blood was boiling. “I can’t describe how upset was because you just don’t do that to the American flag,” Van Beck said. Van Beck found it flying outside Lake County Democratic headquarters under the stars and stripes. Marine Corps vet John Masterjohn was seeing red. “Joseph Stalin, pictures of Mao, pictures of Adolph Hitler. The pomp, the ceremony — the flags like that,” Masterjohn said.
As we all know, and as has been upheld in the Supreme Court, Americans cannot be punished for burning or desecrating that flag. It is protected under the first amendment’s freedom of speech clause.
Half a dozen veterans went to the door and asked Democratic Party chairwoman Nancy Hulbert to take it down. “No. This is private property. This is private property. You’re not allowed to touch anything. I’ll call the police,” Hulbert said.
“If you’ve been a veteran and fought — and some died for this flag — you don’t want to see it desecrated. That’s how simple it is,” Van Beck said. “I’m sorry it had to come to this but you do not desecrate the American flag,”
After a while Hulbert came out and with the help of the veterans, cut down the flag. “I just went online and looked up the flag code. There is no higher-up in Lake County. I’m responsible. I take responsibility.” They offered her a POW/MIA flag to replace it but she declined.