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Residents concerned about Alabama flag being taken down from apartment building

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Two weeks ago, residents at the Russel Erskine apartments contacted WHNT News 19 because the Alabama state flag was suddenly removed from the facade of the building. This was in the midst of nationwide calls for the Confederate flag to be removed from state buildings.

WHNT News 19 took action and contacted the building's owner, who told us the flag was missing for a simple reason: it needed to be cleaned.

But as time passes, there's still no state flag in sight.  Local residents say they're suspicious.

When we spoke to Rebecca Bryant on July 9, she was emotional and said she didn't understand why the state flag had been taken down.

Resident Tom Bush told us he was heartbroken. "We weren't given an explanation.  Just said the owner wanted it down," said Bush.

We shared the update with the residents from the owner, who told us the flag was taken down to be cleaned.  They asked how it could be getting cleaned when the flag was still in the management office.  They sent us a picture of them with the flag.

Residents say after two weeks with no explanation or replacement flag, their initial suspicions of why it was removed are rising.

"I think the Confederate flag controversy had a lot to do with it coming down," said Bush.  "There was no discussion about it until the Confederate flag controversy came up."

Bush, a veteran, says the state flag holds a deep meaning to him and he just wants it back flying at his home.

"I've served four years in the military under the U.S. flag and the flag of Alabama," said Bush.  "I don't think the state flag is a symbol of hatred, I don't think it offends anyone, it's a source of pride for me and most Alabamians."

We spoke with the building owner again on Friday.  He continues to deny the allegations the flag was removed because of a resemblance to the Confederate flag.  He says the process of cleaning and remounting the flag will take some time and that is still the plan.