Olive Garden Restaurant Bans American Flag

CBS12.com ANNISTON, Ala. -- Officials with the parent company of Olive Garden restaurants say they're sorry if a decision regarding an Alabama Kiwanis club's desire to display the American flag caused any concern.

The comments come after 80-year-old Marti Warren of Anniston said she wasn't allowed to bring an American flag into an Olive Garden for a planned Kiwanis Club banquet in the east Alabama town of Oxford.

Warren learned the night of the banquet that she wouldn't be allowed to display the flag or the Kiwanis banner in the restaurant, she said.

"I was so angry," she told WBRC-TV. "I felt like I had been slapped in the face."

Orlando-based parent firm Darden restaurants said in a statement that "like all Americans we have nothing but the utmost respect and admiration for the American flag and everything it symbolizes."

The Oxford Olive Garden lacks a private dining area, which led to the decision, company officials said.

"To be fair to everyone and avoid disrupting the dining experience for all other guests, they're unable to accommodate flags or banners of any type in the dining room," according to the statement.

Without a flag at the Kiwanis banquet, Warren said she asked club members to close their eyes and picture the flag waving in the wind as they said the pledge of allegiance.