New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, a Democrat, ordered the Turnpike Authority to reverse its decision to take down U.S. flags after massive public outcry ahead of the 9/11 anniversary.
The New Jersey Turnpike Authority announced that it would no longer allow residents to hang the flags on overpasses and other public edifices after the agency explained that it could not continue maintaining the flags.
"The long-standing policy of the New Jersey Turnpike Authority has been to prohibit the display of any flags, signs, or banners by private parties on Turnpike Authority property. While we appreciate the desire of some New Jersey residents to express their patriotism in these turbulent times by displaying flags on Turnpike and Parkway overpasses, Turnpike Authority regulations do not allow it, and for good reason," the Turnpike Authority said in a statement on Facebook.
'We should be proud of flying our flag'
After residents and veterans groups objected loudly to the order, Murphy relented on Tuesday.
"I don't like it," said Murphy when asked about it on a morning talk show at WPG radio. "Our flag represents the greatest nation in the history of the world, and that doesn't mean we're perfect, because we're not, but we are a great nation, and my gut tells me that we should be proud of flying our flag."
Murphy said that he had not heard of the issue before he was asked about it on the radio show. Later at a coronavirus update briefing, he said that the flag ban had been suspended, even if only temporarily.
"At least for the time being, the Turnpike Authority has suspended that," he said.
Many of the flags were put up after the Islamic terrorist attacks on 9/11 and had been maintained by residents and other groups for nearly 20 years. One town had planned to defy the transit order and replace the flags in a ceremony with the mayor's approval on September 11.
Here's a local news report about the backlash:
New Jersey State Agency Faces Backlash Over Plans To Remove American Flags From Highway Overpasses www.youtube.com