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American flags, lights back at Sherman Green 'Tree of Hope' display for July Fourth weekend

American flags are back at a patriotic display on the Sherman Green in Fairfield after being taken taken down ahead of July Fourth weekend.

News 12 Staff

Jul 2, 2020, 10:08 AM

Updated 1,450 days ago

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American flags are back at a patriotic display on the Sherman Green in Fairfield after being taken taken down ahead of July Fourth weekend.
First Selectwoman Brenda Kupchick posted photos Wednesday of a flag being hoisted up.
Kupchick wrote that the Tree of Hope will be lit up once again, and that the flags will be here through the holiday weekend.
As News 12 reported, Saugatuck Sweets owner Al DiGuido, the mastermind behind the display, posted about the removal of the display on Facebook saying in part, "It saddens me deeply that due to several complaints regarding the American flags, Tree of Hope lights and signage on the green that the Town of Fairfield has asked us to remove all of the above."
Parks and Recreation director Anthony Calabrese says the Parks and Recreation commission approved the planting of the Tree of Hope in October. It was dedicated by DiGuido for children in need.
"One of the caveats is that he was going to put lights on it, the lights would be lit from November to Jan. 15," Calabrese says.
In March, at the onset of the pandemic, Calabrese says DiGuido asked to keep the lights on, and to also put up American flags.
Because the commission wasn't meeting at the time due to COVID-19 concerns, Calabrese says he and DiGuido had a verbal agreement that the lights and flags would remain through July 1, ahead of events returning to the green.
Calabrese says DiGuido complied with the agreement.
As for the "complaints" DiGuido referenced on Facebook, Calabrese believes they refer to comments made by a Representative Town Meeting member in a series of emails.
News 12 contacted the RTM member who complained about the display, and she says one of her constituents had concerns over the flags, and what she called "commercialization" of the green as she says there were items on the green including the Tree's dedication plaque which named Saugatuck Sweets.
There were also concerns over whether the display was approved.
But Calabrese says the removal of the tree's lights and flags had nothing to do with complaints.
"This complaint had nothing to do with where the flags were placed, and had everything to do with the procedure of approving the flags," Calabrese says. "That Saugatuck Sweets was involved in it, that it was too commercialized, that it looked tacky."
Calabrese says he plans to discuss returning the lights and flags to the green at the next commission meeting.
Until then, smaller American flags have been placed at the site with a few larger ones, and town officials say the red, white, and blue lights will appear back on the tree through July Fourth weekend.
DiGuido declined to comment on camera but posted again on Facebook thanking the community for their support, and also the town, for placing the flags at the green and letting him keep the lights on the tree through the holiday weekend.


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