Correction: Sam Felton is one of Lorain County's most decorated living veterans.
ELYRIA — Lorain County's most decorated veteran is asking fellow veterans and elected officials to stay away from the Lorain County Fair.
Sam Felton, who fought in Vietnam and served three tours of duty, received the Purple Heart and the Navy Cross, said he issued the call because the Fair Board has continued to allow the sale of the Confederate flag.
"I'm a veteran," Felton said. "I fought for this country. I bled for this country. And I believe in standing up for what is right."
He said selling the Confederate flag is wrong because it represents the one event that divided families "for the sole intent of putting a group of people into slavery."
The Fair Board has said the Confederate flag is part of Civil War memorabilia and that allowing the sale of it is a freedom of speech issue.
Felton said it's not just Civil War memorabilia and represents much more than that. He joined the Lorain County Fair-Minded Coalition two years ago, which is a group that seeks to ban the sale of the Confederate flag at the fair.
In recent years, the Confederate flag also has been viewed as a symbol of white supremacy.
Felton said that most of his veteran friends agree with him, although he said it will be unfortunate if he loses some friends over this issue.
"I’m issuing the 'call' to veterans because they are my brothers and I want them to know that this issue is personal for me because that flag represents hate and those groups who want to divide our country along racial lines," Felton said in a news release. "And I’m calling on elected officials, because like me they have taken an oath to defend the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic."
Contact Laina Yost at 329-7121 or email@example.com.