On May 21, WSYX Local 12 News reported a homeowners association (HOA) in an Ohio community is attempting to force a resident to remove his Thin Blue Line flag. The flag shows support for law enforcement officers.
Disabled combat veteran Thomas DiSario said he flies the TBL flag beneath his American flag to honor his son.
“The American flag represents my fight for our country and our freedom. The Blue Line flag represents my son,” he said.
On May 12, 2017, his son, Steven Eric DiSario, a police chief, “was killed in the line of duty.” He’d been Kirkersville police chief for only three weeks. DiSario has been flying the flag since 2017.
Thomas said, “That police flag was given to me when my son was buried. It represents him and nothing else.”
The HOA sent Thomas a letter stating the “political sign in the form of a flag…” must be removed. They reiterated it is not a U.S. flag. “It is a political statement.”
DiSario stood defiant, replying, “I’m not taking it down.”
It’s easy to see in DiSario’s case it is not a “political statement,” specifically honoring his hero son. But since when is supporting your police department political?
Everyone pays taxes for police protection, and just as with the fire department, showing support for public safety, first-responders is a traditionally American thing. And that’s likely the hang-up with someone at the HOA.
However, there has been a positive development. Local 12 is now reporting that DiSario’s neighbors have started flying their own TBL flags in support.
Neighbor Kathy Riddle said, “I applaud them for it and it’s growing. You see more flags out every few days, you see a few more flags and blue light bulbs.”
She added, “[W]e appreciate the service that his family member gave.”
Another neighbor, Kari Culver, enjoys, “Seeing this community come together… everybody had their blue line flags.”
“Is it political,” Culver wondered. “No. I personally feel… certain people… have made it political…” but she’s never seen the flag that way.
DiSario will join in a conference call with a lawyer and the National Police Association this week to discuss a legal strategy.