Updated: City Admits Error; Flags That Are Not Advertising Are OK At Williamson Brothers

From Williamson Brother’s BBQ’s Facebook Page:

Code Violation Notice

This is pretty sad…..We have flown these flags on our flagpole, in addition to the American Flag, for at least 10 years and today we were told by the City of Marietta that we were breaking a code and were forced to take them down. We would like to apologize to our military and veteran patrons….

It appears the venerable establishment has been required to remove two flags indoors.  One is the traditonal POW/MIA flag.  The other says “We Support Our Troops”.

Williamson Brothers, like many BBQ restaurants, is a rather political and patriotic place.  Marietta is…Marietta.

Marietta City Hall’s phone number is 770-794-5530.  You may want to give them a call and let them know how you feel.  Just remember that if you do, the person answering the phone didn’t make the decision.  Be firm but polite.

UPDATED:  You’ll see the City’s response in the comments, which they were kind enough to log in and post directly here.  As I was updating the headline, I also received a very polite call back from the City to answer any additional questions I may have.  The situation seems fully resolved, and I will note and appreciate the quick response from the city to make this situation right.


  1. Charlie says:

    I just called and spoke to Pam in code enforcement. While she was polite, she was unaware of the citation being issued and promised to get back with me later today.

    • bgsmallz says:

      POW MIA flag should fall into the “flags of political subdivisions” category considering it is recognized by law as a flag of the US Armed Services.

      Somebody made a mistake on that one.

      As far as the other banner, I’m not sure they will have much luck. The code in Marietta seems poorly written when it comes to flags (What kind of city bans a flag with the Georgia ‘G’ on it?), but you can’t make exceptions based upon content without committing a pretty big 1st amendment no-no.

  2. CobbGOPer says:

    Somehow, I suspect that if this is in fact a current violation of city code, it will not be for much longer…

    • John Vestal says:

      714.03 – Signs exempt from permit regulations.

      B. National flags and flags of political subdivisions, including the official flag of the United States, State of Georgia, Cobb County, or the City of Marietta that are attached to a flagpole mounted on the ground or to flagstaffs attached to the facade of a structure.

      714.06 – Prohibited signs

      12. Nongovernmental flags, pennants or other nonpermanent displays attached together or to a building, vehicle or other object by rope, string, wire or other device.

  3. The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

    What a bunch of insensitive and prickly you-know-whats in the City of Marietta.

    I most certainly will be calling them and giving them a piece of my mind!

  4. AMB says:

    I’m special. I’m exempt. I don’t have to follow the rules.
    If this wasn’t about a POW flag, you would all be griping at the hippie freaks wanting special treatment.

  5. Charlie says:

    I ate lunch there.

    Most importantly, the place was packed, as usual. They’re good people.

    I spoke to two of their managers. They still didn’t know exactly what the problem was, and the City of Marietta has been less than responsive to them at this point.

    Ross Cavitt and his crew from WSB were also eating at the restaurant. I think the city may hear a bit more after their report airs tonight.

  6. CityofMarietta says:

    The city would never have knowingly warned someone for supporting prisoners of war or our military, and this was an unfortunate error. We offer our apologies to Williamson Brothers, veterans and their families and the community for the insensitivity caused by our mistake. The employee involved did not see the entire flags and assumed they were advertising in violation of city code. We have met with Williamson Brothers to apologize and let them know they are welcome to fly the flags. We are also taking steps — including reviewing internal processes — to determine how this occurred and prevent this type of mistake from happening again.

    • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

      Thank you for seeing the error of your ways and then having enough character to admit that you made a mistake. That is something that is greatly appreciated around these parts.

    • ryanhawk says:

      “We are also taking steps — including reviewing internal processes — to determine how this occurred and prevent this type of mistake from happening again.”

      How about directing your employees to refrain from writing citations based on “assumptions” they make about things they admit they “did not see”? That would be a good start, yes?

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