A SALTIRE raised in salute to Scotland’s most renowned conservationist is set to be hauled down – and replaced with a Union flag.
The Scottish flag usually flies alongside the Stars and Stripes, representing the immense contribution John Muir made to environmentalism in the United States, over Dunbar Town House.
But tomorrow – on the 100th anniversary of Muir’s death – it will be lowered to make way for the UK flag.
Community councillors made the decision to keep in line with “the United Kingdom parliament protocol” for special occasions.
The decision has sparked anger amongst many in the community, according to one SNP councillor.
Paul McLennan, who represents Dunbar, said: “It is like they are ashamed of the Scottish flag. The Saltire has flown here for seven years. East Lothian is the birthplace of the flag and if you can’t fly it in its own county then that’s extremely disappointing. I find it really sad.”
In a letter to the Evening News today, one Dunbar resident described the move as “preposterous”.
D Williamson, from Rosebery Place, said: “The two flags that should fly on John Muir’s centenary are the flag of the US where he died and the flag of Scotland where he was born.
“The Stars and Stripes and the Saltire are the flags that fly at John Muir’s Birthplace, and these are the flags that flew at the Town House when the John Muir Way was opened in April.”
Muir is known as the father of the US National Parks Service and lobbied American president Theodore Roosevelt to preserve the Yosemite Valley, leading to the creation of one of the best-known natural parks in the world.
He is honoured in Dunbar by John Muir’s Birthplace, a museum in the High Street, and by the John Muir Way, a 215km footpath running from the town to Helensburgh in Argyll.
Community council member Gill Wilson backed the decision.
She said: “So much has been said about whether we should fly the Scottish flag or the Union flag that really I could write a book about it.
“I’m English and I feel the Union flag should fly because we haven’t separated. There wasn’t a Yes vote in the referendum.
“It’s just so petty, it’s really not funny. It’s political, and community councils shouldn’t be political.”
Stephen Bunyan, the chairman of the community council, said the group would reconsider its decision following opposition.
He said: “The community council considered flags, and decided to come into line with the UK parliament protocol which gives precedence to the Union flag.”