Burning of N.J. flag in Michigan part of Christie's Whitney Houston fallout | Nation | NewJerseyNewsroom.com -- Your State. Your News.


Jul 01st
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Burning of N.J. flag in Michigan part of Christie's Whitney Houston fallout

njflag022112_optBY BOB HOLT

Michigan resident John Burri was pleased to spend $12.95 at Flags Unlimited in Grand Rapids to buy a New Jersey flag — just so he could burn it.

Burri called it the best money he ever spent. His move was not illegal.

"The U.S. Supreme Court decided in a few cases that the burning of the flag of the United States is considered constitutionally protected speech, so those decisions apply to the burning of a flag of any state," said Larry Dubin, a law professor in Detroit, according to the Detroit News.

Burri’s son, Eric, died in 2005 while on duty in Iraq. Flags were lowered for one day in his honor.

"I didn't do this to offend the people of New Jersey," Burri said. "If you're offended, I'm sorry. I did this to show the governor of New Jersey how wrong this was." According to Gothamist, Burri added, “ It's a watering down of what it means to be a hero."

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s executive order didn't receive complete agreement in his own state. The flag lowering was not followed by Wayne Township. According to The Times of India, Mayor Christopher P. Vergano said, “I have received 13 emails in favor of not lowering the flags and one opposed to my decision. My personal feeling is that the flag should only be lowered as an honor for military personal and fallen police officers.”

The Wayne Township Policemen's Benevolent Association, Local 136 were one local group that disputed the flag lowering.

Houston was born in Newark and raised in East Orange, according to NBC 10 Philadelphia. Christie called the late singer a “cultural icon” who belongs in New Jersey music history with Frank Sinatra, Count Basie and Bruce Springsteen. “Her accomplishments were a great source of pride for the people of the state,” said Christie. “I think she's entitled to have that recognition made for her."


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