The “Flag Called Freedom,” a massive U.S. flag driven cross-country for display at the pro-Trump rally last week in Washington D.C., was swept up by the crowd and lost after Capitol Hill turned chaotic and rioters besieged Congress.
Paul Veluscek, a 43-year-old Libertarian from Oregon, told Fox News Tuesday that he’s still hoping to track it down and get it back.
The flag measures 30 feet by 60 feet and is worth about $3,000, Veluscek said. He bought it in November as an apolitical way to celebrate the country.
MARYLAND DEPUTY PULLS OVER CAR, MEETS FAMILY DRIVING ‘FLAG CALLED FREEDOM’ ACROSS US
“I just thought, either way this goes, whether Trump wins or Biden wins, the flag is the one thing that we should all as Americans be able to unite behind,” he said. “And I thought well, maybe we’ll get this thing started now, and we’ll make this thing the most famous flag. We’ll send it around the country, and have as many people, hopefully, millions of people, touch and hold this thing.”
To accomplish that, he’s been bringing that flag out in public, offering people a chance to help unfurl it. Due to its size, it can take dozens of people at a time to put it on display.
With his brother and nephew, whose sixth birthday was on Jan. 6, he drove across the country from Oregon to Washington, D.C., to bring the project to Trump’s planned rally there.
But Veluscek lost sight of it near the Washington Monument last Wednesday as members of the crowd hoisted it over their heads and passed it along. That’s partially the point of his project, he said, to have as many people touch it as possible. But he struggled to keep up because he had his left foot amputated due to complications from a work-related injury.
With his brother also facing difficulties with a 6-year-old in tow, Veluscek said they decided to let it go for the time being. He has his name and phone number written on the flag, and said he wasn’t initially afraid he wouldn’t get it back.
“Most Trump supporters that I’ve met are pretty honest when it comes to Trump flags, American flags,” he explained. “They’re not gonna steal something that they support 100%.”
But, he said, after leaving D.C. “well before” police implemented a curfew following a siege of the Capitol, he saw the massive flag draped over the side of the building on televised news coverage.
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
A group of rioters broke into the building, ransacked congressional offices and breached the Senate floor shortly after authorities evacuated members of Congress. At least five people died, including a Capitol Police officer. Investigators are still making arrests and figuring out charges a week later.
“As soon as I saw the videos of them bashing windows out and doing dumb stuff I was like, man this is not good, now I wish that flag was not hanging up there,” he said. “It’s gonna be hard to argue that this is an apolitical flag touring the country after this. So I was bummed for a couple of days.”
But after seeing Twitter and Facebook ban President Trump and how the media covered the Capitol siege compared to rioting connected to some racial justice protests over the summer, he said he changed his mind.
“They bashed some stuff up, they made the thing look pretty bad,” he said. “But then to compare that as ‘domestic terrorists’ when everything that’s happened in the last six months was just mostly ‘peaceful protests,’ that has now kinda changed my opinion.”
Veluscek said he believes the flag, which demonstrators left hanging from the side of the building, has been seized by police as evidence. Police did not immediately respond to Fox News requests for comment.
“The flag, I think, is something, just compare it to all the other flags in all the countries of the world,” he said. “It is a pretty handsome, good looking flag. And if what it represents, at least for I hope the majority of Americans, is the good things that we’ve done.”
The Velusceks were pulled over in Maryland last week by an Allegany County sheriff’s deputy who let them off and posed for pictures alongside Old Glory on the side of the highway.
Deputies posed with the group and their flag “to show support for law enforcement, as well as all flag loving, hardworking, patriotic Americans,” according to a post on the sheriff’s Facebook page.
In another post, the group said they’d been pulled over for an undisclosed reason in Nebraska and let go with a warning there as well.