Medal of Honor recipient order to remove flag pole

First Col Barfoot's (of the 45th Infantry Division) Medal of Honor citation:

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.


Now the story:


Col. Van T. Barfoot, a local Medal of Honor winner, is under the gun from his Henrico County community's homeowner association.


In a five-paragraph letter to Barfoot that he received yesterday, Barfoot is being ordered to remove a flagpole from his yard. The decorated veteran of three wars, now 90 years old, raises the American flag every morning on the pole, then lowers and folds the flag at dusk each day in a three-corner military fashion.


In a priority mail letter, the Coates & Davenport law firm in Richmond is ordering Barfoot to remove the pole by 5 p.m. Friday or face "legal action being brought to enforce the Covenants and Restrictions against you." The letter states that Barfoot will be subject to paying all legal fees and costs in any successful legal proceeding pursued by the homeowner association's board.


Barfoot's daughter said this evening that news reports about the association order have prompted an outpouring of sympathy and offers of help from people following her father's ordeal.


Tonight, the Sussex Square Homeowners Association issued a statement reiterating its position that Barfoot directly violated the association board's denial of his request to erect a flagpole.


"This is not about the American flag. This about a flagpole," the statement reads.


Barfoot lives in the Sussex Square community in far western Henrico; its board of directors rejected a plea from Barfoot in July to approve the pole, disallowing the fixture on aesthetic grounds.


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. Short flag stands attached to porches dot the community.


"Dad sort of feels like this is the end," said Margaret Nicholls, Barfoot's daughter, who lives a few doors away. But she said this morning that she and her husband are attempting to generate support for her father's cause, a flag-raising rite that he has undertaken for most of his life.


Barfoot received the Medal of Honor on the battlefield during World War II in Italy and fought as well in the Korean and Vietnam wars. A portion of a highway in rural Mississippi, his native state, was named in his honor this fall. A building at McGuire Veterans Hospital in Richmond also carries his name.


Barfoot began regularly flying the flag on Veteran's Day this year despite the Sussex Square board's decision.


He said in November that not flying the flag would be a sacrilege to him.


"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," he said.


For more on this story, see tomorrow's Richmond Times-Dispatch.


-- Bill McKelway



This is just infuriating! "Aesthetic reasons"?? What the hell? What could be more aesthetically pleasing than the American Flag?! Unless you’re a damn communist!! Get with the program home owners association; every talk radio show in America is going to bring pressure on you to do the right thing. I guess they will learn!!


Totaly outrageous!

some video on the story:,0,2550197.story


"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."


If there was no provision in the rules forbidding flagpoles, then the association cannot deny his flag pole under Federal & Virginia law.


from an attorney`s newsletter found at:


In mid-July 2006, Congress adopted the Freedom to Display the American Flag Act. (Public Law 109-243)

The statutes states in relevant part:

“A condominium association, cooperative association, or residential real estate management

association may not adopt or enforce any policy, or enter into any agreement, that would restrict or

prevent a member of the association from displaying the flag of the United States 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 . . .

Nothing in this Act shall be considered to permit any display or use that is inconsistent with . . . (2)

any reasonable restriction pertaining to the time, place, or manner of displaying the flag of the United

States necessary to protect a substantial interest of the condominium association, cooperative

association, or residential real estate management association.”


This legislation means that community associations may not enact rules and regulations

that outright bar owners from displaying the American flag on their property, but may

lawfully enact rules regarding the time, place and manner of display.


The 2007 amendments to the flag display provisions of the Virginia Property Owners

Association Act and the Virginia Condominium Act generally follow the federal law.

Section 55-513.1 of the Property Owners Association Act and Section 55-79.75.2 of the Condominium

Act state in relevant part:

“Unless specifically prohibited by the association's rules and regulations or architectural guidelines

[condominium instruments] . . . the association shall not prohibit any lot owner from displaying the flag

of the United States. . .

The association may restrict the display of such flag in the common areas [common elements] and may

establish reasonable restrictions as to the time, size, place, duration, and manner of placement or display.

. .

In any action brought by the association . . . the owner shall be entitled to assert as an affirmative

defense that the required disclosure of any limitations pertaining to the display of flags or any

flagpole or similar structure necessary to display such flags was not contained in the disclosure packet [or

public offering statement] . . . .”

When the state provisions are read in conjunction with the federal statute, again,

associations may not outright prohibit the display of the American flag, but can adopt

reasonable rules and regulations concerning the time and manner of display.

Under Virginia law, if the resale disclosure packet or public offering statement (in the case

of newly developed condominiums) do not contain the associations’ rules on flag display,

the owner has a right to assert such defense in the event an enforcement action is brought

against the owner for the illegal display of the flag. Accordingly, managers should specifically

be mindful of the Association’s flag rules and make sure they are enclosed in the Association’s

resale disclosure packet. If the flag display rules are contained in design or architectural

guidelines, the resale disclosure packet must contain a full copy of those guidelines with the

flag provisions. The Association will not be able to enforce a covenants violation regarding

the manner of display of an owner’s flag if such rules were not contained in the owner’s packet at

the time of settlement, unless the owner had actual knowledge that the contents of the

disclosure packet were in error.


For some reason we had three different posts on this same subject today, so it's my responsibility to delete the other two. Todd you were first, so yours shall remain.

Marion J Chard
Proud Daughter of Walter (Monday) Poniedzialek
540th Engineer Combat Regiment, 2833rd Bn, H&S Co, 4th Platoon
There's "No Bridge Too Far"

Homeowners group backs off flagpole threat




While I can understand condo groups enforcing laws, which people SIGN when they move into these communities, why would any said group put up such an enforcement in the first place? That is truly the question.



Anyway, glad this vet can continue to display his patriotism each morning.

Marion J Chard
Proud Daughter of Walter (Monday) Poniedzialek
540th Engineer Combat Regiment, 2833rd Bn, H&S Co, 4th Platoon
There's "No Bridge Too Far"

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