A Georgia state senator issued an apology after sparking backlash by sharing a Facebook post on the anniversary of D-Day equating those who respect the United States flag with “people who burn crosses,” a practice historically associated with the Ku Klux Klan.

Democrat Donzella James of Atlanta, who is a nine-year state senator representing Georgia’s 35th District, posted the meme on Wednesday, the 74th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy during World War II.

Appearing on the Facebook post shared by James was a quote in simple white typeface against a black background, which read, “How Can A Flag Be Such A Big Deal To People Who Burn Crosses?”

Critics quickly reacted to the post, prompting James to delete it Wednesday afternoon prior to apologizing to veterans and claiming that she had shared the meme from another website by accident.

“Please accept my apology from the bottom of my heart,” James told the Douglas County Sentinel. “Although it was not intentional, I am responsible for what was posted. It is not what I stand for. It didn’t originate from me. I really didn’t mean to offend anyone because it offended me. I didn’t mean to share it. I received it from so many different sources and I thought I ‘liked’ it so I could see what comments other people were making.”

James referred to herself as a “number one patriot,” and insisted that she does not support flag-burning or cross-burning.

“I don’t burn crosses and I don’t burn flags and I don’t agree with either one of them,” she said. “It’s nothing I’m involved in and I am appalled that anyone would think I would disrespect the flag or our people like that. I am anything but someone who would disrespect the flag.”

James also posted an apology on Facebook, which read, in part, “I am truly a patriot who deeply cherishes and honors our Nation’s Flag. Please know that as a daughter, granddaughter and wife of Veterans who put their lives on the line to protect and preserve our country, that I would never do anything to tarnish their efforts.”

James is a member of the Georgia state senate Veterans Affairs Committee and emphasized that she currently volunteers for the Veterans Administration and supports students who want to join the U.S. armed forces.

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