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Friday, July 2, 2010

Freeway Flag - Display Of Patriotism Or Graffiti?

Posted: 10:05 pm PDT July 1, 2010
Updated: 3:03 am PDT July 2, 2010

SUNOL, CAlif. -- Interstate 680, in and out of the Silicon Valley, is one of the bay area's busiest freeways. And everyday for the last eight and half years there was a hillside mural motorists passed on the Sunol grade.
"It just made me feel really patriotic, just seeing it everyday," said motorcyclist Dave Freely.
Until Wednesday, motorists saw a 35 foot mural of the American flag painted on a concrete retaining wall.
On Thursday, it was just gray concrete painted over by Caltrans.
"It was put on the list for graffiti removal and yesterday morning they painted over it with grey concrete paint," said Allyn Amsk of Caltrans.
"It should not be classified as graffiti. I mean it was a well done flag and and I felt like it's part of America," objected the flag muralist Eric Noda.
About a week after 9-11. Eric Noda was photographed roller painting the flag mural. It took him three hours to finish.
He and friends R.J. Waldron and Thomas Hanley picked the spot to express their patriotism after the terrorist attack.
"It's kind of a landmark for me and it reminds me of that day and the time in the wake of 9-11," said Noda.
But why did Caltrans wait so long to remove the flag?
"Maintenance wasn't aware that it was on the state right-of-way or you know it would have been removed sometime in the past," said Amsk.
Regular 680 commuters said they were upset.
"I don't know why they would consider it graffiti. We live in America. It should be a patriotic symbol that everybody should enjoy," said Joseph Gross of Tri-Valley Towing.
Sandy Kraft said, "I drive this every day and to not see it up there waving at me, even though it doesn't wave, it's still waving at you."
The flag muralists say they plan to approach Caltrans for permission to repaint the flag in time for the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks.
A Caltrans spokesman said they can apply through proper procedures for what they call transportation art.
Copyright 2010 by KTVU.com. All rights reserved.


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