A business in Chelmsford, Massachusetts, was cited and ordered to remove its display of hundreds of American flags earlier this month, but the town's manager had a change of heart after an outpouring of support for the flags poured in from around the world.
“The intent wasn’t to be anti-patriotic or anti-American, but clearly there’s a tremendous love of this country as demonstrated with the American flag, and I think we’re all better for it in the end,” Town Manager Paul Cohen told WBZ-TV.
The code was intended "to prevent the use of the flag for advertising purposes,” he added.
After the massive show of support, Cohen decided the flags could stay.
What's the story?
Last month, Laer Realty employees created a 200-flag display to honor veterans who've served or lost their lives serving in the military.
The business, which sits near a busy intersection, found a note on hanging on the door a couple of weeks ago that said the company had violated the town’s code for “excessive flags" and that using flags for "commercial promotion" was against the bylaws.
It ordered the removal of a majority of the flags and said a "reasonable" number could remain on display.
“This is a commercial establishment located at a busy intersection. It was in the front lawn of that particular property, and in the opinion of our code enforcement officer, the building commissioner, it was a violation,” Michael McCall, Chelmsford’s assistant town manager, told WBZ in an earlier interview.
Did they remove the flags?
No, they added more.
Supporters also joined in and planted more flags, bringing the total to about 700.
“People have come out of the woodwork to plant them, and they’re telling us their personal stories,” Jon Crandall, who helped create the flag display, told WBZ. “I have two mass cards of two brothers who served in World War II.”
Cohen said he plans to propose a change to the bylaw at the fall town meeting.
"We are very grateful," Crandall told the news outlet.