Flap over flapping flag
Date: Monday, February 10 2003
Topic: Canadian Politics
CHESTERFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. - A man who installed a 50-foot flag poll after the
Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks was ticketed after a neighbor said the flag's
flapping made too much noise..
Ray Saelens says the sight and sound of an American flag whipping in the wind has special meaning.
"To me, the noise of the flag is the voices of everyone who's died for this country," the 51-year-old mason told The Macomb Daily of Mount Clemens.
But next-door neighbor Mark Grucz complained, saying the flapping of the flag bothered him, and police issued Saelens a warning.
In response, Saelens switched to a polyester flag designed to be quieter. "Never in a million years did I think I would bother someone by flying a flag," he said.
But days later, a police officer cited him for violating the local noise ordinance.
"He could hardly look me in the eye," Saelens said.
Township police spokesman Jim Gates said the dispute was unprecedented, and the department had no choice but to issue a ticket when someone complains about noise.
It is up to the court to decide between the neighbors, he said. Meanwhile, Saelens says he will fight to keep the flag flying.
"You're going to have to pry it out of my hands," he said