FRUITA, CO (KKCO/CNN) – A Colorado community is split after a homeowner decided to fly a Nazi flag beside a Confederate flag.
One man said it was a joke. Another said it was offensive.
The Nazi flag flies in front of a house in Fruita, just down the street from an elementary school.
"It’s concerning that he's displaying that hateful image so close to very young, impressionable children," said Joe Gibson, who organized a protest against the flags. "I hope there's people that express anger, and sadness, and pain at what this guy has done."
Gibson hopes the protest has an impact for everyone.
"Really, I just want a future where my kids can grow up without Nazis and hate being on our streets," he said.
But on the other side of the street, and the argument, is Paul Delancy.
“Do I believe in the swastika behind me? It’s part of history. That’s the only opinion I have on it,” said Delancy, who stood watch in front of the flag, waving at protesters as they passed.
Delancy said he thinks the family has a right to fly the flag.
"I'm not even here to support flying the flag or not flying the flag. I'm here to protect a family in the defense of their right to fly the flag," He said.
But why is the family flying it?
"My understanding is, it was as a joke because his mother is Jewish. And he was trying to provoke a reaction out of her," Delancy said.
Delancy said other potentially objectionable flags were flying high nearby.
“You have a flag across the street that is an American flag that they turned into a rainbow. According to the U.S. Constitution, that’s desecration of a flag,” he said.
However, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that desecration of the U.S. flag is a protected form of speech.
Fruita resident Trey Downey said the Nazi flag is offensive, but his neighbors have the right to fly it.
“Everybody should be able to be who they want to be. And you know, if the neighbor wants to fly that flag, that’s his prerogative,” he said. “Once you get to the point of it being hatred, it’s something that, you know, at least someone should say something else about it.”
As the sun goes down on the block, the question remains: Will the flag still fly?
“Would I love for them not to have the flag up? Yes," Downey said. "It shouldn't be something that people are just proud of."
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