An American flag depicting a picture of President Obama where the stars belong was taken down Tuesday afternoon after Florida veterans gathered in protest at the Democratic Party headquarters in Lake County, Fla.
Korean war veteran Don Van Beck told WFTV in Orlando that his “blood was boiling” when he saw an altered version of Old Glory flying there.
Van Beck, the executive director of the Veterans Memorial at Fountain Park, passed out photos of the flag and organized the protest.
“I can’t describe how upset I was, because you just don’t do that to the American flag,” he said.
The veterans told Democratic Party chairwoman Nancy Hulbert that the Obama-spangled flag was in violation of federal flag code and must be removed.
“Joseph Stalin, pictures of Mao, pictures of Adolph Hitler. The pomp, the ceremony — the flags like that,” Marine Corps vet John Masterjohn said.
After a dozen veterans gathered at the party headquarters to take the flag down, Hulbert refused. “No. This is private property. This is private property,” she said. “You’re not allowed to touch anything. I’ll call the police.”
Shortly afterward, Hulbert took the offending flag down. She did not, however, fly a POW/MIA flag offered by the vets as a replacement.
“We’re proud of our president and we didn’t realize it was in violation,” she told the Orlando Sentinel. “I am the chair and I take responsibility for this.”
“I’m sorry it had to come to this,” Van Beck added, “but you do not desecrate the American flag.” He told Fox News that he would have responded the same way if a picture of Mitt Romney were involved.