Two Parks Department employees were seen using the American flag as a mop in a Coney Island bathroom, the New York Post reported. The city employees were spotted using the flag by a Guardian Angel, Jose Gonzalez, who was patrolling the boardwalk on Saturday afternoon.
Gonzalez is a 26-year veteran of the Guardian Angels, a New York City-based non-profit volunteer organization that is “responsible for creating hundreds of safety patrols chapters throughout the United States and worldwide,” according to its website.
He told the outlet that the two workers were mopping a bathroom floor with the flag and that the two were confronted by an elderly veteran. The man told the employees that they “can’t use the flag to wipe up urine and s**t from the floor,” Gonzalez told the New York Post.
Gonzalez said the veteran was “really angry” and “the Parks guy didn’t see what the big deal was and told [the elderly man], ‘It’s just a symbol.’” The veteran then stormed out of the bathroom, according to the Guardian Angel.
Gonzalez provided a photo of the American flag mop, and it was shared by the New York Post which can be viewed below:
In a statement to the New York Post, Guardian Angels founder Curtis Silwa said: “This is an absolute disgrace especially one day before Flag Day, an honored day that no one is discussing in New York City. Clearly, we are not educating our citizens. At a time when we are all divided, it’s the flag that brings us together.”
The New York City Parks Department has not issued a statement about the incident.
The United States Flag Code Prohibits ‘Soiling’ of the American Flag
Using the flag as a mop is in violation of the United States Flag Code. According to the United States Flag Code: “The flag should never be fastened, displayed, used, or stored in such a manner as to permit it to be easily torn, soiled, or damaged in any way.”
The code also states: “The flag should never touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, the floor, water, or merchandise.”
Flag Day Is Celebrated Every Year in the United States on June 14
This Sunday, the United States is celebrating Flag Day. Flag Day takes place every year on June 14, and it commemorates the adoption of the American flag. Although it is celebrated nationwide, Flag Day is not a federal holiday. Some places in the country celebrate it as an official holiday, however, including Montour County in Pennsylvania.
Americans typically celebrate Flag Day by displaying the Red, White and Blue outside their homes and businesses.
The Guardian Angels Have Been Participating in the Black Lives Matter Protests
Guardian Angels have been active in the protests that have swept the nation since George Floyd’s death in police custody on May 25 in Minneapolis. The organization shared a photo on June 6 of two members at a Black Lives Matter protest in Cleveland, Ohio.
The caption of the Instagram post reads: “The Cleveland Ohio chapter of Guardian Angels at the Black Lives Matter march. They have attended several and will continue to show support and strive to keep the peace. #blacklivesmatter #endracism #clevelandohio #getinvolved #dosomething.”