Once again, I have to ask the question: what the hell is wrong with people? When did it become offensive to display the flag of the United States of America on one’s own property?
You’ll recall a couple months back when we brought word of an apartment complex’s management that tried to evict a man for displaying the flag on his vehicle and property. Within days, they changed their tune and Old Glory remained proudly aloft.
This time, there’s more liberal, elitist, bureaucratic bullshittery afoot as a homeowner’s association is taking legal action against a 90-year old veteran of three wars for flying the flag. Retired Colonel Van T. Barfoot isn’t just any veteran, however. Colonel Barfoot received the Medal of Honor during the Second World War.
After raising the Stars and Stripes every day at sunrise and lowering them every day at sunset since he served in the U.S. Army, Barfoot received a letter on Tuesday from the law firm that represents his homeowners' association, ordering him to remove the flagpole from his yard by 5 p.m. on Friday or face "legal action." What a crock.
The homeowners' association at Sussex Square community in Richmond, Virginia told Barfoot that the freestanding, 21-foot flagpole that he put up in September violates the neighborhood's aesthetic guidelines. Barfoot had sought permission to install the pole shortly after he moved into the complex of townhouses, where the grounds are community property, last June. The board denied his request in July. Yeah, if it’s in the least bit unique it doesn’t belong in one of those Stepford communities, where people with jack else to do ride around the neighborhood reporting your every move to the HOA. Grass is too tall…garage door was left open for longer than 10 minutes…you had more than 2 guests over and they parked on the (gasp!)street!
But Barfoot and his family say there is no provision in Sussex Square's rules that forbids erecting flagpoles. And for Barfoot, that's a cause worth fighting for.
"There's never been a day in my life or a place I've lived in my life that you couldn't fly the American flag," Barfoot said in an interview with the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
The association tried to defend its position in a statement released last night, insisting that Colonel Barfoot directly violated its board's July ruling.
"This is not about the American flag. This is about a flagpole," reads the statement from the association, "Colonel Barfoot is free to display the American flag in conformity with the neighborhood rules and restrictions. We are hopeful that Colonel Barfoot will comply."
The statement reminded the public that many American flags hang from homes in the Sussex Square community, and that the board members object only to Barfoot's freestanding flagpole. NOTE: The board members object. No one said the good Colonel’s neighbors objected. A small group of self-important swine who wish to control the masses, including an elderly man who received this nation’s highest award for valor in combat.
But Barfoot says he has always flown the flag from a height: "Where I've been, fighting wars ... military installations, parades, everything else, the flag is vertical. And I've done it that way since I was in the Army," Barfoot told the paper.
"I've flown the flag at my home as long as I can remember," said Barfoot, who lived in rural Amelia County before moving to suburban Richmond. "This is the first time in the last 36 years that I've been unable to put my flag up on the same pole, the same staff and take it down when it's time to come down. I don't have any qualms with [the board's] authority, but the thing about it is that I cannot get enough conversation out of them where we can try to work out a solution," Barfoot said.
Neighbors largely have expressed their support, but he realizes that ultimately it's up to the nine-member association board whether to grant an exception to the rules.
"Emotional torture is what they've done to my father," said his daughter, Margaret Nicholls. "He has lost sleep, he worries about it constantly. He just doesn't understand. He thinks that if it's on his property they can't tell him what to do."
Y’know, this is precisely why I don’t live in a development of cookie-cutter houses with a Home Owner’s Association. You pay umpteen many thousands of your hard-earned dollars in the six figures to buy your house, and then you have to pay dues to the HOA, and various fees to such for the privelege of having some shitbird tell you that your lawn isn’t right, or you can’t park on the street, or you can’t change your own oil, or you can’t have a big party at your place, or you can’t park your boat at your house, or your house isn’t an approved color, or you can’t have a shitty plastic kiddie pool in your back yard, or have holiday decorations, or fly the American flag in a patriotic manner.
I wash my car in my yard, usually with the music on blast. I walk my dogs on my property without a leash. I cut my grass when I deem it needs it. My guests park in my yard off the street. My storage shed’s not the same color as my house.
Colonel Barfoot is showing his pride in America, a nation that he has fought for in three different wars, a nation that he has bled for and received a Purple Heart for. He’s not flying the flag inappropriately or disrespectfully. He’s not flying a pirate flag, a Confederate flag, or a flag from another country. He’s flying our flag, and damn it, there’s nothing wrong with that.
Wanna get ahold of the Home Owner's Association's lawyers?
Coates & Davenport
5206 Markel Road, Suite 200
Richmond VA 23230
Toll Free: (800) 450-8311
Local Phone: (804) 285-7000
General Fax: (804) 285-2849
Real Estate Fax: (804) 285-3426
Wanna call the Home Owner's Association yourself and let fly?
804-740-8795 (possibly disconnected by now)
Colonel Barfoot’s Medal of Honor Citation reads as follows:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty on 23 May 1944, near Carano, Italy. With his platoon heavily engaged during an assault against forces well entrenched on commanding ground, 2d Lt. Barfoot (then Tech. Sgt.) moved off alone upon the enemy left flank. He crawled to the proximity of 1 machinegun nest and made a direct hit on it with a hand grenade, killing 2 and wounding 3 Germans. He continued along the German defense line to another machinegun emplacement, and with his tommygun killed 2 and captured 3 soldiers. Members of another enemy machinegun crew then abandoned their position and gave themselves up to Sgt. Barfoot. Leaving the prisoners for his support squad to pick up, he proceeded to mop up positions in the immediate area, capturing more prisoners and bringing his total count to 17. Later that day, after he had reorganized his men and consolidated the newly captured ground, the enemy launched a fierce armored counterattack directly at his platoon positions. Securing a bazooka, Sgt. Barfoot took up an exposed position directly in front of 3 advancing Mark VI tanks. From a distance of 75 yards his first shot destroyed the track of the leading tank, effectively disabling it, while the other 2 changed direction toward the flank. As the crew of the disabled tank dismounted, Sgt. Barfoot killed 3 of them with his tommygun. He continued onward into enemy terrain and destroyed a recently abandoned German fieldpiece with a demolition charge placed in the breech. While returning to his platoon position, Sgt. Barfoot, though greatly fatigued by his Herculean efforts, assisted 2 of his seriously wounded men 1,700 yards to a position of safety. Sgt. Barfoot's extraordinary heroism, demonstration of magnificent valor, and aggressive determination in the face of pointblank fire are a perpetual inspiration to his fellow soldiers.
Not long after this action, Barfoot was promoted from Technical Sergeant to Second Lieutenant. Four months later, his unit was in France's Rhone valley when he was ordered to division headquarters and informed that he had been awarded the Medal of Honor. Given the choice of returning to the United States for the ceremony or receiving the medal in the field, Barfoot chose the latter so that his men could be present. Lieutenant General Alexander Patch awarded him the medal in Epinal, France, on September 28, 1944.