Southern Coloradans react to Betsy Ross flag controversy

Local

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Nike is yanking a new shoe before it even hits shelves.

The move comes after former NFL player Colin Kaepernick complained about the design featuring an early version of the American flag. The design shows 13 stars in a circle to represent the original 13 colonies.

Betsy Ross is credited for the design during the American Revolution. It was used as the country’s official banner from 1777 to 1795.

Kaepernick reportedly said it harkens back to a time of slavery.

On Tuesday, veteran Ronald Pace went to Affordable Flags and Fireworks in Colorado Springs to buy a Betsy Ross flag.

“He had the right to express himself on the field same way I am going to express my right when I get home when I put that flag up,” Pace said. “It’s about freedom. Freedom for everybody. Freedom to do what you want, say what you want and come and go what you want.”

Store owner Jody Ilett said it’s a symbol of our history, and the store has carried the flags for more than 25 years.

“It’s a heartwarming flag,” she said. “It makes you feel good to think back to the history of the country, to the beginnings when we were fighting tyranny and looking for freedom.”

The Associated Press reports the flag has been used by some white nationalist groups.

Ilett believes the flag should be looked at as a historical piece instead of a political one.

“I think they may have turned Betsy Ross into a negative thing,” Ilett said. “I don’t think it has anything racial or religious or anything like that.”

She just hopes this Fourth of July, people remember the meaning behind the day and show their patriotism.

“There is enough negativity in the world,” Ilett said. “It’s just is nice when people can say, ‘Yes, this is my country. Yes, we have our flaws. But I am still proud of it.”

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