For one Florida city, it was a flag flap that couldn’t blow over soon enough.
When a motorcycle dealership in the military-heavy town of Jacksonville received a warning citation Monday from a city employee whom the manager felt had disrespected the country’s veterans, he didn’t waste any time taking his case to social media.
By Monday afternoon his Facebook post had gone viral and things were starting to happen fast.
By Monday night, the store was announcing that the city had caved.
According to First Coast News, the whole incident started that day around noon, when a Jacksonville city employee entered Jaguar Power Sports to deliver a written warning about a flag display on the roof of the building. Besides two United States flags, the building boasted a Jacksonville Jaguars flag and flags representing each branch of the military.
The flags allegedly violated a city code, but it wasn’t just the message that manager Shaun Jackrel objected to. Jackrel and other Jaguar Power Sports employees said the city worker also insulted a veteran who was in the business at the time — a man who had been wounded fighting for the country.
“She says, ‘What did you do for this country?’” employee Katie Klasse told First Coast News. “He says, ‘I took three bullets to the leg. I almost lost my life for this country. I’m retired. I’m a veteran.’ She gets in his face this close and says, ‘You did nothing for this country.'”
Check out the video Jackrel posted to Facebook here.
“There’s one thing I’m not going to tolerate … dealing with this kind of disrespect in a military town,” Jackrel said on the video. “We should not be getting cited and ticketed for flags, for representing our country.”
By Wednesday afternoon, that post had received almost 9.5 million views. But by then, its mission had been accomplished.
Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry, a former chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, had taken to Twitter by early Monday evening to say the Power Sports flags were safe.
In other words, no place is a good place to disrespect a military flag, but that city employee would have been a lot better off someplace like Berkeley.
And the ending? The sun had barely gone down on northeast Florida before Jacksonville Power Sports had posted a new video on its Facebook page.
This one featured sales manager Marcy Moyer who was celebrating the outcome.
“I am so amazed at the amount of support (Jackrel’s) little video got from the city of Jacksonville and from military people and families abroad,” she said. “Thank you so much for understanding that we are trying to accomplish something here.
“The city of Jacksonville is not going to make us take down our flags. They are not going to be giving us a fine.”
Then she launched into a sales spiel that should give Jaguar Power Sports’ bottom line a very healthy spring.
But the wheels of commerce aside, Moyer told First Coast News she knew how the business had won its battle so quickly.
“Unbelievable, the power of social media,” Moyer told First Coast News. “Boy, oh boy!”
Moyer nailed it. Thanks to the speed of the internet, and a responsive Republican city government, it was a flap that blew over almost before it got started.
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