US

North Carolina City Says American Flag Flying Over RV Store Still Too Big

By GQ Pan

The North Carolina city of Statesville has voted against the flying of an American flag too massive to miss while driving down Interstate 77.

The City Council voted on June 17 whether to allow businesses to put up flags larger than the maximum size allowed by Statesville’s flag code. The current rule requires the flag of the United States to not exceed 25 by 40 feet, which is roughly half the size of the flag Marcus Lemonis has unfurled outside his RV business.

An American flag blows in the wind at Gander RV, in Statesville, N.C. (Jennifer Munday/Camping World, AP)

The motion to amend the rule failed in a 3-5 vote, WSOC reported.

It wasn’t the first time the City Council voted to expand the permitted flag size, according to WSOC. Lemonis’s 3,200-square-foot flag, however, is still too big to meet the parameters.

flag too big statesville nc
An American flag blows in the wind at Gander RV, in Statesville, N.C. (Jennifer Munday/Camping World, AP)

The CEO of the RV dealership Camping World, Lemonis, was sued by Statesville over the flag in early May. Meanwhile, the company has faced a $50-per-day fine dates back to October 2018, when the city says it warned Camping World that the company would be fined until the flag is replaced with a smaller one, Fox News reported.

Lemonis had said that he understands that Gander RV isn’t complying with the city’s ordinance. He argued, however, he would rather go to jail for contempt of court than make the flag smaller.

“I would prefer not to (go to jail),” he told the Associated Press. “It’s not a super-favorable outcome. But that’s how big a line in the sand this is for me.”

Lemonis started a petition on change.org in support of the flag. His petition named “Let Camping World & Gander Outdoors Fly The American Flag!” has gathered more than 300,000 signatures since it started a month ago. In a tweet, he said he wanted to have the flag code “changed at a federal level.”

Born in Lebanon and adopted by American parents, Lemonis said his love of big flags dates to his childhood in south Florida, where he says his family flew flags at their automobile shops.

“The flag was a very big symbol,” he told the Associated Press. “If there is a way to put up a bigger pole, a bigger flag, we will do it,” said Lemonis, now an adult with many shops of his own.

His stores fly “the same size flag and pole in over 180 cities across the country,” said Lemonis in an interview with Fox Business. “It has been part of the company’s DNA.”

“I don’t normally advocate for violating ordinances and things of that nature, but we have 14,000 employees and several millions customers and I have a fiduciary responsibility to follow their edict as well.”

Lemonis’ love of the XXL-sized symbol of American patriotism has resonated on the internet. One of many social media comments made in Lemonis’s favor points out the fact that Lemonis was not even born in the United States, yet he “has more pride in America and the flag than the city of Statesvilles’ representatives.”