Town orders biz owner to remove ‘excessive’ flags, his act of defiance sparks groundswell of patriotism

A Massachusetts town order for a business to take down its “excessive” American flags sparked an act of civil disobedience instead.

When a Chelmsford business placed 200 flags on its property to honor America’s veterans for Memorial Day, the last thing it expected was the unpatriotic notice from the town’s building department, WBZ-TV reported.

“On Saturday we came out and we lined this with 200 flags in support of our deceased veterans and all the people who have served,” Laer Reality employee Jon Crandall told WBZ-TV.

When he showed up to work Friday, Crandall said there was a note on the door slapping the business with a violation by the town which cited a statute saying flags cannot be used for “commercial promotion.”

“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,” Michael McCall, Chelmsford’s Assistant Town Manager, told WBZ-TV.

But Laer Realty not only did not comply by removing the “excessive” flags, the business doubled down and added another 300 to the display.

“We feel this is a patriotic act. It’s not about our business. It’s about supporting our troops, supporting veterans,” Crandall said. “I think the flags speak for themselves. I don’t think we need to get into a fight with city hall.”

This is not the first year that the flags have been placed,  but it is the first time the business said they had a complaint.

The town government not only got a defiant response from Laer Reality, but residents showed their support by adding flags of their own, tripling the original amount.

Emelie Primeau was one of the residents who was upset by the citation.

“I went to the store and I bought some flags because I believe in what they’re doing,” she told WBZ-TV.

“It was beautiful, but it certainly was not excessive. I don’t think you could have 2,000 out there and it would look excessive,” Crandall said on “Fox & Friends” on Sunday.

Stacey Alcorn, Laer Realty’s CEO, decided to “dig our heels in” when she heard of the town’s order.

“This had nothing to do with our business. It was us as a community just honoring our veterans and those who serve for us,” Alcorn said, pointing out how the display has “grown significantly” because of the community coming out to support the message they are sending.

“Whether they fine or don’t fine us, those flags are staying up, at least through Flag Day and the Fourth of July,” Alcorn said.

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