SPRINGFIELD, Ore. - For Chris Flaherty, a solitary American flag is a powerful image.
"It's a symbol of our country and our pride and being American," Flaherity said.
But for Veterans Day 2011, the graphic shop owner didn't stop at one flag.
Or even 10 flags.
"There's got to be about 100 flags out here," he said of the string of flags festooned on his building.
He put the banner up a week before Veterans Day. He planned to take it down a week afterwards.
Flarety learned, however, that what he calls a display of patriotism has earned him a $500 fine from the City of Springfield.
"Saying I have to have a permit to hang pennant signs," he said. "I was pretty shocked, really."
While Flaherty said he was surprised to receive the citation in the mail, the city said he shouldn't before - and that Flaherty has violated this particular city code before.
"If you make signs for a living, you probably know the sign code and you know the difference begween a pennant and a flag," said Niel Laudati, the City of Springfield's community relations manager.
The city said what Flahery calls flags are technically pennants by style, design and display.
"If it was a flag on a pole or a flag displayed properly, he would never hear from us," Laudati said. "In fact, we would encourage that."
Under city sign codes, Springfield requires businesses to purchase a permit to display signs or to fly pennants.
But while the city doesn't consider pennants printed with American colors as a flag, Flaherty disagrees.
He said he didn't think tiwce about displaying the pennat flags.
"I don't think these signs, per their definition, are saying anything more," he said, "than thank you for serving our country."