San Francisco takes down controversial 'Appeal to Heaven' flag from in front of city hall

KGO logo
Thursday, May 30, 2024
SF takes down controversial 'Appeal to Heaven' flag at Civic Center
San Francisco takes down 'Appeal to Heaven' flag at city hall after Justice Samuel Alito controversy.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A historic but controversial flag that has become a symbol of the far right was taken down in front of San Francisco City Hall over the weekend.

According to a city official, the "Appeal to Heaven" flag was swapped with an American flag on Saturday.

Officials say the controversial flag was initially raised on Flag Day in 1964 at Civic Center and was part of what is known as the "Pavilion of American Flags."

"This flag was originally used during the American Revolutionary War, flown by George Washington's cruisers, and is associated with the early quest for American independence. It's since been adopted by a different group-one that doesn't represent the city's values, so we made the decision to swap it with the American flag," said San Francisco Recreation and Parks communications manager Daniel Montes.

RELATED: Justice Alito refuses to recuse himself from Jan. 6 cases after flag controversies

The "Appeal to Heaven" flag has made headlines recently after the banner was flown outside U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito's beach vacation home in New Jersey, according to The New York Times, which obtained several images showing it on different dates in July and September 2023. The Times previously reported that an upside down American flag - a sign of distress - had flown outside Alito's Alexandria, Virginia, home less than two weeks after the violent Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of former President Donald Trump.

Some of the rioters carried the inverted American flag or the "Appeal to Heaven" flag, which shows a green pine tree on a white field. The revelations have escalated concerns over Alito's impartiality and his ability to objectively decide cases currently before the court that relate to the Jan. 6 attackers and Trump's attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

Ted Kaye, secretary for the North American Vexillological Association, which studies flags and their meaning, said the "Appeal to Heaven" banner dates to the Revolutionary War.

RELATED: 2nd flag carried by Jan. 6 rioters displayed outside Justice Alito's beach house, report says

Six schooners outfitted by George Washington to intercept British vessels at sea flew the flag in 1775 as they sailed under his command. It became the maritime flag of Massachusetts in 1776 and remained so until 1971, he said.

According to the pine tree on the flag symbolized strength and resilience in the New England colonies while the words "Appeal to Heaven" stemmed from the belief that God would deliver the colonists from tyranny.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

Now Streaming 24/7 Click Here