A Massachusetts town threw the book at a company’s display of American flags only to be met with defiance by the patriotic scofflaws who have since doubled the number of flags planted on the front lawn of the real estate firm’s offices.
“Can you have an excessive amount of American flags?” real estate broker Jon Crandall told the Lowell Sun.
Crandall said that he and his 11-year-old daughter showed up on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend to put 200 small American flags in the front lawn of Laer Realty in Chelmsford.
“Two hundred certainly doesn’t seem excessive to me,” Crandall said, according to WFXT.
His daughter agreed.
“She was amazed, ‘Dad, we did all that in a half an hour,’ it was amazing. A little tiny thing meant so much,” Crandall said.
But the town of Chelmsford thought differently. On Friday, Crandall found a message from a very unhappy town codes officer.
Every year around Memorial Day, Laer Realty employees place about 200 American flags in front of the Chelmsford business.
Today, they received a notice from the town that it was “excessive.”
“That seems so anti-American,” says Laer’s salesbroker.
“We’re gonna keep adding now” pic.twitter.com/0Mq05nV8eI
— Rick Sobey 👨🏻💻 (@Rick_Sobey) June 1, 2018
“There was a note in the door from the building department stating we had a violation, a flag violation, excessive flags,” Crandall said.
“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,” said Michael McCall Chelmsford’s Assistant Town Manager.
But Crandall was not intimidated.
“We feel this is a patriotic act. It’s not about our business. It’s about supporting our troops, supporting veterans,” he said.
So in the spirit of Lexington and Concord, he fought back by adding at least another 200 flags to the ones already there.
“I think the flags speak for themselves. I don’t think we need to get into a fight with city hall,” Crandall said.
— Mike LaCrosse (@MikeLaCrosseWBZ) June 2, 2018
As the town has received increased attention for the fight, Town Manager Paul Cohen said the town sees the flags as a commercial promotion, not an issue of patriotism.
“This isn’t anti-flag, anti-American. In fact the building enforcement officer, he’s a former Marine,” Cohen said.
The town’s code “prohibits the use in commercial promotion and I think the other one is it could be a distraction and safety issue — it’s a pretty busy intersection,” he said.
Crandall said he has no plans to take away a single flag.
“For all the people that have sacrificed so much and all the soldiers and the people in the branches of the military that have given their all for us to be here freely, just to me, it’s insulting to take them down,” he said.
Faith Murphy, an agent at Laer, said the town’s actions were “insulting.”
“Of all things to call excessive, an American flag is not the one,” she said. “This is just showing we’re patriotic and we’re one.”
In commenting on the dispute, Fox News commentator Todd Starnes noted that Cohen had said the town also slapped a church with a notice saying it had too many flags.
“So not only does the town punish patriotic business, but they also punish patriotic churches. What’s next — slapping fines on the American Legion hall?” Starnes wrote on his website.
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