Veterans Stand Guard Over Christian Flag in N.C. Town

Tom Breen
Associated Press

King, N.C. (AP) – The Christian flag is everywhere in the small city of King: flying in front of barbecue joints and hair salons, stuck to the bumpers of trucks, hanging in windows and emblazoned on T-shirts.

The relatively obscure emblem has become omnipresent because of one place it can’t appear: flying above a war memorial in a public park.

The city council decided last month to remove the flag from above the monument in Central Park after a resident complained, and after city leaders got letters from the American Civil Liberties Union and Americans United for the Separation of Church and State urging them to remove it.

Ray Martini, an Air Force Veteran, stands beside a Christian flag flying in front of the Veterans Memorial at Central Park in King, N.C., on Oct. 16, 2010. Martini launched a vigil to guard the new flag after another one was removed following complaints. (AP Photo/Lynn Hey)

That decision incensed veterans groups, churches and others in King, a city of about 6,000 people 15 miles north of Winston-Salem. Ray Martini, 63, an Air Force veteran who served in Vietnam, launched a round-the-clock vigil to guard a replica Christian flag hanging on a wooden pole in front of the war memorial.

Since Sept. 22, the vigil has been bolstered by home-cooked food delivered by supporters, sleeping bags and blankets donated by a West Virginia man and offers of support from New York to Louisiana…

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H/T Weasel Zippers

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