Old Glory Under Attack in Duluth

Last year, in celebration of the Fourth of July, several children in Duluth – with the help of their parents – painted a large American flag on the asphalt in their cul-de-sac.  Now neighbors are complaining – saying the display “denigrated the flag” – and the Duluth City Council has recommended it’s removal.  

Nine-year-old Rachel Renbarger who assisted with the painting, stepped to the microphone during Monday’s city council meeting, took full responsibility, and made a tearful apology:

Rachel Renbarger, age 9, who admitted to wielding a paintbrush, just took responsibility.

Her voice was both humble and candid, and she pretty much stole the show in the small, packed City Hall.

“I am so sorry,” said Rachel, her voice cracking and her eyes tearing up.

“We will do whatever it takes to remove it — me and my sister. I am so sorry.”

The city council feared that allowing this painting to stay might set a dangerous precedent, which is understandable (I guess).  But that being said, it is a sad day when a little girl feels compelled to apologize to a group of elected officials for an innocent display of patriotism. 


  1. Melb says:

    How much you want to bet that her parents put her up to that? I seriously doubt I 9 year old would just feel compelled and knowledgable enough about what is going on in Duluth politics to apologize?? Can anyone say drama? What kind of parent does that?

  2. buzzbrockway says:

    The Gwinnett Daily Post article on this incident had this to say:

    Some thought the painted flag was a pro-war message, but those who support the image said it was created to teach neighborhood children about patriotism.
    Speaking to the council, Linda Hutchinson, a painting supporter, was compelled to defend the image on behalf of the neighborhood.
    While she argued the American flag “can in no way be called graffiti

  3. Decaturguy says:

    Are you people kidding? Don’t you think it is flag desecration to paint the flag on a road that people drive over and walk over every day?

    To put it in her own words:

    “I learned a lot about the flag and how to use it and how not to use it,” Rachel said Tuesday. “I respect the flag more than I used to.”

    There was a time when the flag was respected. Now we gave a flag on your t-shirt fake partirotism society.

  4. buzzbrockway says:

    But Rusty, the City of Duluth didn’t say it was flag desecration, they said it was graffiti. Also, there were a number of people who complained about the painting, not just the WWII Vet. Furthermore, one of the organizers of the painting is a Vietnam Vet.

    I never said one way or the other what I thought about the painting, I just linked to a news story about it, and decried the National attention this will now receive.

  5. Bill Simon says:

    Let’s see…an ordinary road exists in a cul-de-sac….kids paint hopscotch squares on it, nobody cares.

    A kid takes an initiative to create a flag (a very large, well-designed one in terms of proportionalities) and somebody all of a sudden decides THAT is an unpatriotic treatment of the American flag, as if the mere painting of the flag makes the road hallowed ground.

    Wow…the U.S. Congress is rife with corrupt officials, and we have an earth-shattering crisis on our hands in Duluth because someone painted an American flag on a street. Dang, lump this in with the Wilbanks runaway last year, and that just about sums-up the collective IQ of the population of Duluth.

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