It's a small sign with a big message, but Bartow residents are now being ordered to uproot their "God Bless America" yard signs.
About 300 of the signs were handed out at First Baptist Church of Bartow following a Fourth of July sermon. But three months later, City of Bartow Code Enforcement says the temporary signs have worn out their welcome.
Residents have three days to pack it up or pay a minimum fine of $25 a day.
"Being a veteran, I felt like I was just kicked in the gut. I couldn't believe it, that I couldn't display my love for my nation by putting a sign up that says "God Bless America," Bartow resident Marcus Seger said Thursday.
Bartow Code Enforcement says its temporary sign ordinance dates back 13 years and already allows for some exceptions.
"They can have those signs out on holidays that are relevant. You can have a temporary sign around Christmas if it's related to Christmas. Or the 4th of July. The sign ordinance has exceptions for that," Bartow Code Enforcement Director Gregg Lamb said Thursday.
But others argue that patriotism isn't limited to one day a year. Their signs will stay put out of principal.
"I personally feel if it were on a city right-of-way, they would have a right to remove it. But this is my yard that I'm paying the taxes on. It's my right," said Bartow resident Emmett Purvis.
The little signs have really sparked serious outrage with some Bartow residents. A group plans to be at Monday night's Bartow City Commission meeting to ask commissioners for an exception to the ordinance.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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