Veteran upset over store selling American flag doormats

LAKE ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KTVI) - One Missouri veteran wants a local hardware chain to stop selling doormats with the American flag on them. He believes the mats are disrespectful to the flag that he and many others have fought to defend.

John F. Kelly and his family are no strangers to the United States military.

"I'm a Vietnam vet. My father was a former aviator in World War II. So it runs deep. My son is in the Coast Guard presently," Kelly said.

He strolled into a Lowe's hardware store near his home in Lake St. Louis, he saw a Memorial Day display that contained doormats with images of the American flag on them, and immediately objected.

"You don't tread on an American flag. You don't wipe dirty boots on them," Kelly said. "You don't walk on them. That's a patriotic symbol that represents freedom, the country, and the people in it."

When John complained to the store manager, he objected even more to their response.

"The management of the store basically said this didn't represent the United States or the flag. They said this was "Pop Art" and they could do that. He indicated the intent was not to use it as a doormat, but used as a wall plaque or something like that," he stated.

One Lowe's location wouldn't let us shoot video of the Memorial Day display inside the store and referred me to the corporate offices.

The doormats came off the display shelf at the Lake St. Louis store Wednesday afternoon, but John believes this is a corporate problem that affects more than one store.

"I think they'll continue selling it. Until corporate tells each store or puts a policy out to remove all of these and return them to their vendors," he said.

Until that happens, John's mind is made up, "I'm disgusted. I do a lot of personal shopping at that store. And if they don't do something, I'm just not going to go. There's other stores I can go to, and I'm sure the public will do the same."

The rugs are made by a company called Mohawk Home, based out of Sugar Valley, Ga.