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Homeowner Association Bars American Flag/ Pole

A 90-year-old World War II veteran and Medal of Honor-winner is battling his homeowners’ association for the right to fly the American flag from a pole in his front yard.

Retired Army Col. Van Barfoot says he built the 21-foot flagpole outside his Henrico, Virginia townhouse in September. He raises and lowers the flag every day at sunrise and sunset. He  has been ordered  to remove the flagpole from his yard today.


Barfoot lives in the Sussex Square community in western Henrico County, VA. He moved there in July, and was ordered to remove the flagpole from his front lawn when he flew the flag on Labor Day, and again on Veterans Day.
The homeowner’s association doesn’t explicitly forbid flagpoles but they must be "aesthetically appropriate". Short flags are allowed on porches, but Barfoot says that’s not the way he was raised to respect the flag.
"First of all, it’s not dignified, and it shows you got it in the half mast position… you can walk around here and I’ll bet you the American flag is hanging out in the rain, nobody ever checks it", says Barfoot.
Family members say he’s the most decorated American combat veteran alive. Barfoot has been awarded more than 20 medals, including the Medal of Honor, The Silver Star, the Legion of Merit, The Bronze Star, and three Purple Hearts.
Wounded in combat three times, Barfoot fought in World War II and in Vietnam.
And he has the support of a lot of people, including Senator Mark Warner. Warner says he’s outraged Barfoot’s neighborhood association wants him to remove the flagpole from his yard.
Barfoot says he will take it to court.
Meanwhile, the Sussex Square Homeowner’s Association issued a statement saying in part, "This is not about the American flag. This is about a flagpole… We are a neighborhood of patriotic Americans, many of whom have served our country in the military as Col. Barfoot has done.."
The homeowner’s association also says Barfoot knew from the beginning that he wasn’t supposed to have a flagpole without permission.


What say you ?

4 Responses

  1. In spite of the HOA’s position on a flag pole I offer this:

    The Freedom to Display the American Flag Act of 2005 (4 U.S.C. 1) provides that a condominium or other association is prohibited from adopting or enforcing CC&Rs that would prevent a member of the association from displaying a flag “on residential property within the association with respect to which such member has a separate ownership interest or a right to exclusive possession or use.”

  2. While I respect MOH recipient Barfoot he knowingly put up his flagpole in defiance with the HOA covenant AND after being denied permission to do so. He could have appealed; he didn’t. He could have petitioned; he didn’t. He could have put up a flag pole that would have been in compliance with the agreement he signed when he moved into the community. All this hoopla over the false argument (the big bad HOA is not allowing him to fly the flag) is typical of unthinking people–the HOA does and are supporting this right, as does everyone living in his HOA community. Wa hero or not, he’s wrong.

  3. A group of students has just launched a PETITION to support Col. Van Barfoot and his right to fly the American flag with pride and respect.

    Please join & spread the word.


  4. To Also a Veteran: Kindly refer to the Freedom to Display the American Flag Act of 2005. The HOA in this case is in violation of the Act.

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