The Pine Tree Flag, a symbol tied to the Pine Tree Riot in Weare, N.H., flew proudly over Gen. George Washington’s army at the historic Battle of Bunker Hill.

But thanks to Nashua Mayor Joe Donchess and his administration, it won’t be flying over the Gate City any time soon.

Nashua resident Beth Scaer made a formal request to fly the Pine Tree Flag on a flag pole in front of city hall made available for citizens “to fly a flag in support of cultural heritage, observe an anniversary, honor a special accomplishment, or support a worthy cause.”

Scaer’s request was to “remember the Nashua soldiers that died in the battle including William Harris, the young drummer boy and Colonel Ebenezer Bancroft, who had led the march on Lexington and Concord” by displaying the flag beginning June 15. The anniversary of the battle is June 17.

Nashua said no. Why?

“The flag is not in harmony with the message that the city wishes to express and endorse. Therefore, we must deny your request,” wrote Jennifer L. Deshaies, whose job title in the Donchess administration is “Risk Manager.”

The city did not explain to Scaer how flying the historic flag with its iconic “Appeal to Heaven” message would violate the Gate City’s “harmony.” Neither Deschaies nor Donchess would respond to requests for comment from NHJournal.

In an email to the mayor on Monday requesting an appeal of Deshaies’ decision, Scaer wrote that “the citizens of Nashua would be quite alarmed and ashamed to know that the City does not endorse the message of commemorating our soldiers fighting and dying at the Battle of Bunker Hill.”

This isn’t the first flag to be banned from display on the community pole. The Donchess administration shot down a previous request to fly the pro-life flag, and a “Save Womens Sports” flag Scaer had approved to fly was quickly furled after furious complaints from some Nashua residents.

An Appeal to Heaven Flag in the Museum of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts, located in Faneuil Hall, Boston, Mass.

Mayor Donchess may be able to spare his citizens the site of a historic flag that was the maritime flag of Massachusetts from the Revolutionary War until 1971, but he won’t be able to spare them the taxpayer expense.

Mat Staver, founder and chairman of the nonprofit, pro-faith legal group Liberty Counsel told NHJournal Monday that Nashua’s flag policy is a lawsuit waiting to happen.

“They’re clearly violating the citizens’ right to free speech, and if they don’t reverse themselves they are subject to a lawsuit. It will be expensive for the city.”

Staver should know. The Liberty Counsel won a $2.1 million settlement from the city of Boston after a 9-0 victory in front of the U.S. Supreme Court over the city’s arbitrary policy regarding banning flags.

Nashua explicitly states that “the flag poles are not intended to serve as a forum for free expression by the public.”

“This policy recognizes that a flag flown in front of City Hall will be deemed by many as City support for the sentiment thereby expressed, city administration reserves the right to deny permission or remove any flag it considers contrary to the City’s best interest.”

Staver says that is unconstitutional self-delusion.

“They give with one hand and then try to take away with the other,” Staver said of the Nashua policy. “They have actually indicated that there’s a flagpole and that it’s available for citizens to apply and fly flags on if it meets one of these categories. Cultural heritage, for example. And the Bunker Hill Flag would certainly fall into that category.”

The Pine Tree Flag has been declared “controversial” after The New York Times wrote an extensive piece about the banner flying over U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito’s New Jersey vacation home. Alito said his wife flew the flag, and history buffs noted it’s flown in many places for many years without controversy.

For example, the flag was unfurled outside San Francisco City Hall on Flag Day of 1964 and remained their until about a week ago.

For many New Englanders, the Pine Tree Flag is part of American history. It waves at the annual commemorations of the 1772 Pine Tree Riot in Weare, N.H., one of the first acts of resistance against British authority by American colonists. The pine tree logo is used by the New England Revolution soccer team. There’s even a pine cone on top of the Massachusetts state house.

The flag was flown on George Washington’s ships during the Revolutionary War.

It was also brandished by a handful of the Capitol Hill rioters on Jan. 6, 2021, a fact Democrats targeting Alito have touted. However, far more rioters waved the U.S. flag, which is proudly flown outside Nashua City Hall.

“This really is a classic free speech, viewpoint-based discrimination,” said Staver. “I think the city of Nashua would be wise to quickly reverse themselves or close the forum altogether.

“But if they don’t do one of the two, they could end up like the City of Boston.”