Public displays of the American flag have recently been called into question at a Wrentham housing complex, which sent a notice to its residents that public displays of the flag were not allowed outside the building. This caused frustration and anger for many tenants yesterday, before the state intervented and corrected the error in the face of public pressure.
According to The Sun Chronicle, residents of the Garden Lane public housing complex were told through a notice on their doors that public displays of the flag were not allowed in public housing, even though there are flag-holding apparati affixed to most windows in the complex.
The ban was enforced after an anonymous tenant reportedly complained to the state Department of Housing and Community Development, but the rule itself enforcing the ban was never brought up.
Upon hearing the news, Senator Scott Brown (R-MA), a Wrentham resident himself, criticized the state's decision in a press release this morning:
"Our flag stands for freedom, and is a symbol of the sacrifice made by our servicemen and women to protect the liberties we enjoy today. Flying the American flag should never be controversial, and no citizen should ever be prevented from doing so. I was deeply disturbed to learn of this misguided decision, and I call on the responsible authorities to undo this regulation immediately."
As pressure mounted from angered citizens, and the Senator, the state housing authority backed off the rule this afternoon. According to Jason Lefferts, spokesman for the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, the rule regarding public displays doesn't extend to universally accepted displays that are "safe", like the American flag:
"We were not aware of this decision when it was made, and it was a mistake that is being corrected immediately. Department of Housing and Community Development policy for local housing authorities includes not allowing displays of private materials in public areas. This does not extend to respectful and safe displays of the American flag."
What led the administration to reverse its policy remains unclear, but for the residents at Garden Lane, it feels good to wave the flag proudly once again.