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San Francisco flew the 'Appeal to Heaven' flag for 60 years — then along came the New York Times' smear campaign
Photo by: Michael Siluk/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

San Francisco flew the 'Appeal to Heaven' flag for 60 years — then along came the New York Times' smear campaign

The crime-ridden city took down the historic flag after the Times imagined a connection between it, Justice Alito, and Jan. 6.

Democrats and their allies in the liberal media launched a smear campaign against Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito earlier this month in an effort to prompt his recusal from upcoming cases related to former President Donald Trump and the Jan. 6 protests.

Jodi Kantor, running lead on the initiative for the New York Times, failed to land a decisive blow with her May 16 flag story, which the Washington Post had years earlier wrote off as a nothing-burger. Meatless, but desperate for results, Kantor found another flag to concern-monger about: the "Appeal to Heaven" flag, also known as the Pine Tree Flag, which had apparently been flown above Alito's beach house in New Jersey last year.

This line of attack proved similarly ineffective. Alito told Democrat Senators Dick Durbin of Illinois and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island that he personally flew neither flag and that he would not be recusing himself, prompting Democrats to rage impotently.

Democratic lawmakers' feelings and the New York Times' remaining credibility were not the only casualties in the unsuccessful smear campaign.

The offending "Appeal to Heaven" flag has effectively been transmogrified in the popular liberal imagination from a patriotic banner — designed by an aide-de-camp to then-General George Washington and flown by proud Americans ever since — to a loathsome symbol of an imagined wrong.

It has 'since been adopted by a different group — one that doesn't represent the city's values.'

The "Appeal to Heaven" flag was one among a collection of 18 flags reflecting different moments in American history flown in Civic Center Plaza outside San Francisco City Hall. According to the SFist, despite being flown for 60 years with "zero controversy," the flag has been removed by the city's Recreation and Park Department.

The flag's fate appears to have been sealed not only by its presence among the myriad of different banners present at the Capitol on Jan. 6 but on account of is recent association in the Times with a Supreme Court justice detested by the left.

City parks officials told the San Francisco Chronicle in a statement that whereas the flag originally signified the "quest for American independence," it has "since been adopted by a different group — one that doesn't represent the city's values."

The "Appeal to Heaven" flag has been replaced by an American flag, which also appeared at Justice Alito's home and at the Capitol on Jan. 6.

The flag's removal comes just days after users on social media indicated Democrats were effectively whipping stones at Alito from a glass house and months after a Palestinian flag was sent up a pole at the Golden Gate Bridge.

According to the U.S. National Park Service, the "Appeal to Heaven" flag "became familiar on the seas as the ensign of the cruisers commissioned by General Washington and was noted by many English newspapers of the time."

Republican Illinois state Rep. Chris Miller's office noted years before the flag became controversial:

The pine tree had long been a New England symbol being depicted on the Flag of New England flown by colonial merchant ships dating back to 1686. Leading up to the Revolutionary War it became a symbol of Colonial ire and resistance. The colonists resented the restrictions on the timber used for their needs and livelihoods. Prohibitions were disregarded and they practiced 'Swamp Law,' where the pines were harvested according to their needs regardless of statutes.

In New Hampshire enforcement led to the Pine Tree Riot in 1772, one of the first acts of forceful protest against British policies. It occurred almost two years prior to the more well-known Boston Tea Party protest and three years before open hostilities began at the Battles of Lexington and Concord. The pine tree was also used on the flag that the Colonists flew at the Battle of Bunker Hill in June 1775.

The flag was subsequently adopted by the Massachusetts Navy and used until 1971.

Concerning San Francisco's quiet removal, Utah Sen. Mike Lee (R) joked online, "'Quick, we can't let the unwashed masses see that the Appeal to Heaven flag isn't a call for violent insurrection!"

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Joseph MacKinnon

Joseph MacKinnon

Joseph MacKinnon is a staff writer for Blaze News.
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