VA GOVERNOR ON THE COLONEL’S SIDE – LET THE FLAG POLE STAY
Posted by Andrew Roman on December 5, 2009
I don’t think I will suffer any irrevocable damage by praising a Democrat – at least I hope not – and I’m almost certain that I won’t be kicked out of the “American Racists, Bigots, and Intolerance Alliance,” for doing so. But I must extend a heaping helping of kudos to Virginia Governor Timothy M. Kaine.
Yesterday, Kaine spoke out in defense of retired Army colonel, and Medal of Honor recipient, Van T. Barfoot – a man, incidentally, with his own Wikipedia entry – who was ordered by his homeowner’s association to take down a flagpole from his property for “aesthetic” considerations. In the absence of any HOA regulations against it, Barfoot put up the flagpole only to be told after the fact that it had to come down … or else.
Virginia’s top dog weighed in on the story yesterday.
From the Richmond Times-Dispatch:
Gov. Timothy M. Kaine said today it is “ridiculous” for the Sussex Square community association not to let a Medal of Honor winner fly the American flag from a flagpole in his yard.
“I support this guy. He’s proud of this country,“ Kaine said on the “Ask the Governor” radio program on radio station WRVA.
The neighborhood association says its covenant prohibits flags flying from freestanding poles. They can be flown from the side of the house. Col. Van T. Barfoot won a Medal of Honor in World War II. He is 90 years old.
Kaine said he has not been in touch with Barfoot or the association, but said he was glad to deliver the message over the radio.
Good for him.
In the original article from the Richmond Times Dispatch on Wednesday, this important point is made:
“There is no provision in the community’s rules expressly forbidding flagpoles, Barfoot’s daughter said. But she said the board ruled against her father’s fixture and ordered it removed in July, deciding that free-standing flag poles are not aesthetically appropriate.”
That means it was an after-the-fact decision.
Colonel Barfoot, according to some reports, took it down for a time, but then decided that it should go back up. By September, it was up to stay.
The association bylaws do not restrict a free-standing flagpole, nor was a ban on them subsequently added to the association covenant after Barfoot was told it did not look good enough to keep.
Colleen Chen from the NewsOn6.com website writes:
The Sussex Square homeowners’ association doesn’t specifically ban flagpoles but said they must be “aesthetically appropriate.” They do allow short flag poles, but Barfoot said it’s not dignified enough for the American Flag.
“I think it is ridiculous. In the first place, I think my flag or staff looks better than any tree out there,” Barfoot said.
To earn his Medal of Honor, Barfoot took down machine gun nests by himself in Italy on May 23, 1944. He then was able to take 17 Germans as prisoner and went on to outmaneuver three Tiger Tanks with the help of a bazooka. Barfoot also saved two comrades that same day.
That the homeowner’s association wouldn’t choose to make an exception for a war hero who was not violating anything – other than an after-the-fact determination – is a disgrace. That the HOA wouldn’t have solicited the opinions of association residents before going to the extreme measure of retaining a law firm, is an embarrassment.
Yesterday’s 5:00PM deadline for removing the flagpole was pushed back a week to December 11th. If it is not taken down, Colonel Barfoot could face a lawsuit.
Note, in the photo below, the aestheticly inappropriateness of Colonel Barfoot’s flag pole.
That sound you heard was the property values of every home in the neighborhood plummeting.
In other news, screw the Sussex Square Homeowner’s Association.