Local man says city's flags 'ain't right'
Bill LeMonds was driving through downtown Versailles on his way to lunch recently when he saw something that made him pull over. “I took a good look and I just took a picture of it and it’s like, ‘That ain’t right,’” LeMonds said. What drew his attention, then ire, was one of the 52 banners around town emblazoned with the stars and stripes – with far too many of the latter. “It’s as if they got ahold of somebody in China and said, ‘You need to make this flag and it’s got this blue field and then it’s got 13 stripes, and what color are the stripes – red and white. Okay, 13 red stripes.’ They’ve got 25 stripes on it,” LeMonds said. An American flag has seven red stripes and six white stripes. City Clerk Allison White said the banners were purchased in October 2014 for $59 each. Since then, they’ve been put up on Main and Lexington Streets in the weeks leading up to Veterans’ Day, Memorial Day and the 4th of July. LeMonds contacted Versailles Mayor Brian Traugott, who contacted the company that made the banners. A representative provided this response, which Traugott forwarded to LeMonds: “This is an ‘Avenue Banner’ which can best be described as a sign and/or a decoration. I am fine with it. It is whimsical! The number of stars (is) not accurate, either. It is not a flag with requirements for the design to be ‘officially correct.’ I think it is attractive and patriotic. “Some folks look at the situation from the opposite point of view as your citizen. They think it is best not to try to replicate the flag on an advertisement banner or sign, and attempt to change it some, since it is not in reality the real ‘Old Glory.’ Thank you for your inquiry!” LeMonds called the explanation from the company and Traugott “bureaucratic speak,” adding that while he wasn’t offended by the flag banners, he did wonder what visiting friends would think of them. “I’m a Yankee in a way. I came out of Chicago, (though) my family came from the south. And there’s always a perception of, ‘The folks from the south aren’t that smart.’ And when you put up a flag that’s that bad, it’s embarrassing, because people coming from the north say, ‘Don’t they know what the flag looks like down here?’” LeMonds said. Traugott told The Sun LeMonds is the only person he knows of who’s complained about the banners, and that he’s received plenty of compliments about them. “I think they’re charming. I think they look good,” Traugott said. “They’re certainly intended to promote patriotism in our small town and they are not flags, so …” LeMonds said he believes the city should take the banners down. Traugott said the city will do just that – after the 4th of July. “You know … if you look at it closely, you can see that it’s about 10 times too wide, too,” Traugott said.