An American flag with President Obama’s image in place of the stars flew over a Florida county’s Democrat headquarters long enough to enrage local veterans who called the altered banner “a disgrace.”
Lake County Democratic Party officials took down the flag, which flew just below a standard Old Glory on the flagpole outside headquarters in Tavares following complaints by local veterans. But merely taking it down wasn’t enough for several local veterans, who said they fought for the flag Betsy Ross made famous, not one with a politician on it.
“It’s absolutely disrespectful,” Jim Bradford, a 71-year-old veteran who participated in the Bay of Pigs Invasion told FoxNews.com. “It’s totally ridiculous. To put somebody’s picture there, to me, it’s a disgrace to do that.”
Bradford, an organizer with the Veterans Memorial at Fountain Park in Leesburg, Fla., snapped photos of the flag and distributed them to fellow veterans and friends. By late afternoon, he and several other veterans delivered a copy of the federal flag code to Nancy Hurlbert, chairwoman of the Lake County Democratic Party.
“We read that to her, but she would not accept that,” Bradford said. “The discussion finally got a little bit heated.”
The flag, which had been flying for several months without complaint and is available online for $12.95, was later removed by Hurlbert.
Bradford said Hurlbert apologized for the incident, but did not offer any promises that it wouldn’t fly again.
“What really upsets me is that the flag had apparently been flying for months and no one had done anything about it,” Bradford said. “I’ve got no hard feelings toward [Hurlbert], but people will be driving by there to make sure it doesn’t go up again.”
Hurlbert said Tuesday’s incident was the first time anyone had complained about the flag, which she received as a gift two months ago.
“It leads me to believe that it’s not about the flag,” she told FoxNews.com. “Certain elements cannot accept Barack Obama as president.”
Hurlbert said she intends to contact an attorney regarding the matter and remained non-committal as to whether she’ll fly the flag again.
“I won’t say no and I won’t say yes,” she said. “We want to find out what our legal rights are.”
Also reporting, Lake County, FL’s “Daily Commercial”.
President Obama’s face in place of stars on an American flag flying at Lake County Democratic Headquarters in Tavares irked a group of veterans on Tuesday, who found themselves engaged in a verbal confrontation and the threat of police action when they requested the flag be taken down.
The matter was resolved peacefully when Democratic party officials removed the flag.
The Obama flag had been flowing for two months underneath an American flag before it was noticed by the veterans, who argued that it was a desecration of the flag and in violation of three codes passed by Congress about displaying the American flag.
“We were given this as a gift,” said Nancy Hurlbert, chairwoman of the Lake County Democratic Party. “We are proud of our president, we’re proud of the United States, and we felt it was time to display that.”
Leesburg veteran Jim Bradford recalled he did a double take when he saw the Obama flag with red and white stripes for the first time over the weekend.
“When I saw the picture on the flag, I thought this is wrong,” he said. “I really hate seeing the flag not being respected, and to me this was not respectful.”
Bradford took pictures of the flag and sent them, via email, to friends and veterans groups.
“The general reply has been this is not right,” he said, adding politics has nothing to do with the issue.
“I really don’t care what party it is. If it had been a picture of Romney on the flag, I would have done the same thing,” Bradford said.
Korean War veteran Don Van Beck of Tavares spearheaded the veterans’ visit to the Lake County Democratic Headquarters, where he was joined by a dozen veterans and media on the front steps of the Main Street building.
“There are laws against desecrating the flag,” Van Beck said, right before he read out loud the federal flag code, public law 344, section 4G to Hurlbert: “The flag should never have placed upon it or any part of it, any marks, insignia, letters, words, figures, designs, picture or drawings of any nature. We would like to ask you to take it down please.”