For one homeowner’s association in the Sunshine State, the American flag is on the naughty list as Christmas décor by residents.

The Ruot family of DeBary, Florida, has been going whole-hog with their Christmas lights for a decade, with their home a must-see for locals. Their lights display features an American flag.

This year, however, the new homeowner’s association sent the Ruots a letter insisting the lights are problematic for the “aesthetics” and valuation of their property, as Time reported.

Dad Gary Ruot doesn’t seem too concerned — and the flag stays. “If the kids have a smile on their face, I’ll deal with it afterwards,” he told a local reporter about a potential fine if he ignores the association’s request.

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The American flag has become a contentious symbol this year in the wake of the presidential election, with some burning, stomping on, and otherwise destroying the flag in protest. But flag burners are generally a confused bunch. They don’t understand the significance of the flag.

That cloth has meaning. Sometimes, the burner, stomper or destroyer doesn’t understand the true message of that thing that so angers him. It’s so easy to burn or stomp on — or rip — a piece of cloth.

When protestors destroy our flag, they’re destroying a symbol of purity and innocence.

Red, white, and blue. The Stars and Stripes. Old Glory. The Flag. We all know the terminology, the nicknames, and the symbols. According to the “Flag Code,” there is much symbolism in our National Standard.

That is due to its rich history of purity and honor, which we should teach our kids.

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When the flag was adopted in 1777, there was no specific meaning to the colors. However, we can correlate it to the colors of the Great Seal of the United States, which did have specific meanings. Charles Thompson, secretary of the Continental Congress, reported the following to Congress: “The colors of the pales (the vertical stripes) are those used in the flag of the United States of America; White signifies purity and innocence, Red, hardiness and valor, and Blue, the color of the chief (the broadband above the stripes) signifies vigilance, perseverance and justice.”

We all know there are 50 stars, one for each of our United States of America. Most of us were taught the 13 stripes are representative of the 13 original colonies.

Did you also know, however, that “the star is a symbol of the heavens and the divine goal to which man has aspired from time immemorial; the stripe is symbolic of the rays of light emanating from the sun”?

When protestors burn, stomp on, or otherwise destroy our flag, they think they are destroying a symbol of that which they are protesting. They may think they are destroying a symbol of law enforcement. They may think they are destroying a symbol of slavery. They think that they are destroying a symbol of the “elite 1 percent.”

They do not understand they are destroying a symbol of purity and innocence, hardiness and valor, vigilance, perseverance and justice — a symbol of the heavens, and “a symbol of the divine goal to which man has aspired through time immemorial.”

If that flag is ever gone, God forbid, our freedoms just may be gone with it.

Our great country was basically founded on protest. One of our most basic rights, which is protected by the First Amendment, is to protest that which we perceive as “wrong,” or that which makes us angry. However, I can safely say that our Founding Fathers would encourage us to be informed before acting. They would want us to know what we are protesting, why we are protesting — and how to protest.

I do agree that burning the American flag is protected by the First Amendment. However, I believe that protecting that very same American flag is also protected by the First Amendment.

I and many other patriots and veterans will gladly put ourselves in harm’s way to protect the symbol of this great nation. We will eagerly thrust ourselves into violent groups to rescue something we cherish. Men and women have died for the flag in war.

Related: Boycotting Those National Anthem Protesters

Put in that context, who cares about a simple arrest, or a possible attack from a few left-wingers?

Our flag is a symbol to the world of our freedom, our resolve and our courage. Instead of destroying or disrespecting it, fly it proudly in our protests. Show those in power that we know and understand its symbolism.

The truth is that as long as our flag waves, we are all free! If that flag is ever gone, God forbid, our freedoms may just go with it.

John Cylc is an eight-year U.S. Army veteran and lives with his family in eastern Tennessee. His primary advocacy is promoting and protecting Second Amendment rights.