Punished For Patriotism? Love It or Hate It? - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Punished For Patriotism? Love It or Hate It?

 By Layron Livingston - bio | email

TYLER, TEXAS (KLTV) - An East Texas businessman is seeing red, over the red, white, and blue.  Kevin Lewis says he's being punished for his patriotism after displaying what he calls a flag for the Fourth of July holiday.  All this flap over flaps is causing a new revolution on Old Jacksonville Highway.     

Kevin said he bought eight feather flags and put them on display last week.   When they're line up they make one big American flag.

But there was one problem.

"The city of Tyler came by and told me that we couldn't fly them," said Kevin.

Code enforcement delivered a letter, Friday, explaining Kevin's "fluttering," [waving] "signs" were a violation of city ordinance and needed to be removed.

"We have the freedom of speech, the freedom to fly our flag," he said.

But in what form?  Barbara Holly, city of Tyler planning director, said the signs are not flags at all.  "What you're talking about are advertising devices," she said.  "It's got red, white and blue in it, but that's the extent of it."

Holly said those types of signs are distracting for drivers.  "Your focus needs to be on the road and not looking at something off the road."  She said that's why the city regulates that type of activity.

"I think it's un-American," said Mike Blaser who saw the display. 

The city said designated flags, such as American flags, or state flags are okay when flown using proper etiquette.

Kevin has both the American flag and the Texas flag on poles in front of his business. 

He says the other eight will wave until after the fourth.  "If they're going make me take my flags down, then I think they're going to have a problem," he said.

At this time, Kevin has only received a warning from the city. 

Tyler city officials say the city allows up to three flags to flown at one time, up to 35 feet high.  

Some allowances are made for holiday decoration. 

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