A North Carolina town is suing Camping World in an attempt to force the business to remove a massive American flag at its Statesville store while also imposing a $50 per day fee until it comes down.
According to the City of Statesville, Camping World and Gander Outdoors are violating the city’s ordinance on the maximum flag size within 100 feet of a highway, which stipulates flags no larger than 25 feet by 40 feet, WSOC reports.
The city approved a compromise to allow a larger flag at Camping World, but it’s still smaller than the 40 foot by 80 foot flag greeting motorists along Interstate 77 and the company has no plans to change flags.
On Saturday, Camping World offered an explanation for the defiance on Facebook:
The City of Statesville, North Carolina has filed a lawsuit seeking an injunction to require Gander RV in Statesville, NC to take down their American Flag. They are imposing a $50/day fine retroactive to 10/15/18. Many cities like Statesville have requested that Camping World and Gander Outdoors take down their American Flags. WE WON’T DO IT! Stand with us.
This is about more than just the flag. This is about our Veterans, Military and the men and women that have sacrificed for this great country. They are the reason we fly the flag and they are the reason we will NOT take it down!
Simple math suggests the city is attempting to recover about $11,000 in fines.
The post offered a link to a Change.org petition that’s since amassed more than 100,000 supporters.
Many supporters chimed in about the ordeal under a comment section on the petition titled “Reasons for signing.”
“This is America, that’s why!” Jeff Keiser wrote.
“Heroes have died defending our flag,” Shawn Dickens added.
“It’s about what the flag represents and how it makes us feel when we drive by seeing it wave freely,” wrote Kelly Knudsen.
Camping World CEO Marcus Lemonis provided similar reasoning for what’s become a years-long battle with local officials. The ordeal first surfaced in 2015, WSOC reports.
Lemonis said similar flags are at more than 200 other stores across the country, including some in North Carolina, that haven’t caused any issues.
“I don’t care if (the fine) goes to $500 a day. It’s not coming down,” he said.
“My family has been car dealers, had been car dealers since the 1960s, and our key trademark was always flying our flag in our dealership in south Florida,” Lemonis said. “My family is largely immigrants of the country.”
Thousands of folks have weighed in on the controversy online, nearly all in support of Gander RV – “the bigger the better,” as some put it, according to the Charlotte Observer.
“I don’t care if it’s large enough to be seen from space! I question the morals and honor of the folks who run the city if they want to enforce this,” Glen Sexton posted. “Change your own ordinance it’s ridiculous to start with.”
“Someone needs to file a lawsuit against the city for being Anti American,” Steven Schack added on Gander RV’s Facebook page. “What is this country coming to! My God!”
“Stand tall, proud and don’t back down to anything or anyone that disapproves of the flying of Old Glory,” Haig Zeytoonian added. “She was paid for with the blood of millions. God Bless America.”