City Orders Restaurant To Remove Flags Honoring ‘Fallen Heroes’

Amid a dispute over signage, Johnny Brann, owner of Brann’s Steakhouse in Grand Rapids, stood firm in honoring fallen police officers and military members. When ordered to remove flags and signs by the city, he refused, citing respect for the military and law enforcement. The display honored individuals like David Warsen Jr., a Navy SEAL who died in Afghanistan, and held deep meaning for their families.

Despite support from law enforcement and the community, city leaders maintained that the display violated zoning regulations. While Brann intended to seek a zoning variance, he vowed not to remove the memorial even if denied, willing to pay fines if necessary.

In a legislative response, state Rep. Jason Wentworth introduced House Bill 6063 to prevent local governments from regulating signage commemorating fallen heroes. The bill, signed into law in 2018, ensures that flags honoring military and emergency service personnel remain protected from zoning ordinances.

Brann’s refusal to yield, supported by legislative action, resulted in a victory for memorializing fallen heroes. For families like Warsen Sr.’s, the continued presence of the flags serves as a meaningful tribute, ensuring their loved ones are not forgotten.

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