Above Johnny’s Saloon in Huntington Beach, Calif., is a sign meant to honor the nation’s veterans.
“Thank a veteran for your freedom!” reads the sign, which has been on top of the establishment for years.
But the bar’s owners are now fighting to save it after receiving a letter from the city citing it as a violation and requesting its removal.
“We just received notice that we have 2 days to remove our sign!!!! The city says there was a complaint made about it bc rooftop signs are illegal!!!! Who would complain???? They said it must be removed in TWO DAYS… A sign that has been on this roof for 30+ years they are giving TWO DAYS…” the bar owners wrote on the saloon’s Facebook page Monday. “A sign that has been spreading a positive message to Beach & Slater, our customers & making Veterans smile… These are the kinds of actions that kill small business in America!!!! Every car dealership can do whatever they want whenever they want making Beach Blvd tacky but us little guys that want to spread a positive message get screwed??????”
According to the Facebook post, the owners said they plan on paying the $960 penalty for not taking it down within the ordered time, because “we are not going down without a fair fight!!!”
Patrons have been voicing their support for the sign on Facebook. One wrote a letter that read, in part:
Johnny’s is not merely a local bar, but a place that brings people together for the greater good of the community. When there is a family, friend or business in need, Johnny’s is front and center. Heading more than a dozen fundraisers and charity events to help, Johnny is always there to lend a helping had. For thirty years, Johnny and his family have represented those of the armed forces. Those who give us freedom, and those we pay tribute to. What better reminder to honor “OUR” Veterans by having a beautiful sign as a display of that gratitude. We can all walk and drive down Beach Boulevard and see this glorious tribute that simply reminds us why we are able to do just that, freely. This is the very sign that is being asked to be taken down, the very sign that unites this community together, and truly allows us to stand as one.
According to KCBS-TV, even Huntington Beach Mayor Pro-Tem Matthew Harper said he would grant an exception for the sign to remain. Harper told the news station he contacted the city manager to discuss the issue.
Watch KCBS-TV’s report:
Co-owner Jonny Kresimir wrote on Facebook that the original Johnny’s Saloon was started by his father and mother. Even though his mother doesn’t go to bars, Kresimir wrote, “she helps with Pets 4R Vets …(and) She thinks the sign should stay!!!!”
The OC Weekly reported that fans of the bar plan to bring the issue up at a city council meeting and are starting a petition and raising money to pay the fine.