Colonel Van T. Barfoot, Medal of Honor:
It looks like this thing is growing legs . . . the law firm of Coates & Davenport have already gone into Damage Control Mode:
Statement from the Sussex Square Homeowners Association
Dec. 3, 2009
The Sussex Square Homeowners Association never intended its request that Col. Barfoot remove his flag pole as an affront to his patriotism.
This is not about the American flag. This is about a flag pole. And Col. Barfoot is not being forbidden from displaying an American flag.
With its request that he remove the flag pole, the association was discharging its duty to all the owners in the neighborhood. The association's position has merit and is supported by its Bylaws, Rules and Declaration of Restrictions and Covenants.
The association is optimistic that this matter can be resolved in a way that is mutually satisfactory to all parties and looks forward to Senator Mark Warner's involvement toward that end.
Anyone who wishes to offer comments may do so at email@example.com
Coates & Davenport
So I went back and checked the story, as it was originally reported to me:
In December 2009, the HomeOwners' Association (HOA) of Sussex Square, where 90-year-old Van T. Barfoot lives in Henrico County, Virginia, ordered him to remove the flagpole from which he flies the American flag. The HOA retained a lawyer to help enforce their order. The Association's bylaws do not forbid flagpoles, but the HOA ruled Barfoot should not be allowed to use his "for aesthetic reasons". Mr. Barfoot is contesting the order.
I don't want to come off sounding like a barracks lawyer, but it sounds to me like Colonel Barfoot has a pretty good case going for him.
Anybody who prowls the I-95 corridor like I do knows it is literally infested with veterans, and we have our fair share of lawyers and activists who are constantly on the lookout for issues like this to make their own. The opening salvos of this campaign have already been fired, apparently:
The American Spectator
Nissan Offroad Bulletin Board community - NOR
A little friendly note to you guys over at NOR: "The Medal is often mistakenly referred to as the Congressional Medal of Honor, due to the requirement of an act of Congress; the official and correct title is the Medal of Honor" - S.L.
It's all over Facebook, predictably enough . . . (there's a legitimate reason you won't find me there - S.L.)
Check it out: a UNITED STATES SENATOR has weighed in on this thing!
And he makes the same point I did:
"I have been informed that the covenants governing this neighborhood association do not expressly forbid installation of flag poles
and that the association opposed the flag pole on the grounds of its aesthetics."
- Jim Webb, United States Senator
The OTHER United States Senator from Virginia is on it as well:
"Senator Warner called Col. Barfoot on Wednesday night to offer his support and assistance. The Senator met Barfoot several times in recent years, most notably at the 2005 groundbreaking for a state veteran's facility in Richmond that bears Barfoot's name."
Senator Mark R. Warner, Virginia
Last but not least there's this fivecolcebrilt guy:
A 90-year-old Medal of Honor winner is involved in a dispute with a neighborhood association that wants him to remove a flag pole from his front yard. Supporters, among them a United States senator, are supporting the medal winner, Van T. Barfoot, a World War II veteran. Mr. Barfoot put up a 21-foot flagpole in September. He raises the flag daily at sunrise and retires it at sunset. But the Sussex Square homeowners association in Richmond said the flagpole violated the neighborhood's aesthetic guidelines and ordered him to remove it by Dec. 11 or face a lawsuit.
So we're pulling up some pretty heavy artillery here for the Colonel . . .
. . . I'm guessing it won't be long now . . .
Thank you for all your support so far . . . you know who you are . . . we will continue to monitor the situation . . . . . . . . . . . . . S.L.