Several Islanders have called or written the Reporter about what looks like an American flag, but is black and white with one blue stripe, hanging outside Sweet Tomato’s Restaurant in the Heights.
The flag is known as a “Thin Blue Line Flag” and is displayed to honor police officers.
Sweet Tomato’s owner Mary Rando’s son, Anthony, is a Shelter Island Police Officer and a number of Ms. Rando’s relatives are members of the New York City Police Department.
When five officers were killed in Dallas earlier this month, Ms. Rando put up the flag in memory of those killed and in solidarity with their families.
Officer Rando issued a statement indicating that the blue stripe represents “the courage police officers find inside when faced with insurmountable odds. The black background on the flag was designed as a constant reminder of our fallen brother and sister officers.”
The blue stripe represents what the police protect, Officer Rando’s statement read — “the barrier between anarchy and a civilized society, between order and chaos.”
Other groups and organizations have changed the traditional red, white and blue stars and stripes to send messages of solidarity, including the “Rainbow U.S. Stars Flag,” with multi-colored stars and stripes, symbolizing gay pride.
In June 1990, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that changing or even desecrating the American flag is protected under the First Amendment of the Constitution, guaranteeing free speech.