Marti Warren, 80, said she wasn't allowed to bring an American flag into an Olive Garden for a planned Kiwanis Club banquet in Oxford, Alabama.
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 told WBRC-TV: "I was so angry. I felt like I had been slapped in the face."
The Olive Garden's Orlando-based parent firm Darden restaurants said in a statement: "Like all Americans we have nothing but the utmost respect and admiration for the American flag and everything it symbolizes. To be fair to everyone and avoid disrupting the dining experience for all other guests, we're unable to accommodate flags or banners of any type in the dining room."
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.
The Oxford Olive Garden lacks a private dining area, which led to the decision, company officials said.