Published December 04, 2009
A Medal of Honor recipient in a dispute over his right to fly the American flag in his yard will have another week before D-Day -- when he'll be forced to take down the Stars and Stripes or face legal action.
Ninety-year-old Col. Van T. Barfoot, a veteran of three wars, initially was given a 5 p.m. Friday deadline to dismantle his flagpole or face a legal battle over violating an order from his townhouse community association in Henrico County, Va.
John K. Honey, who is part of Barfoot's pro-bono legal team, said the homeowner association's board told him Thursday that it would push the date back a week to Friday, Dec. 11, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported.
"There's not going to be an announcement anytime this weekend," Honey told the paper. "We can all get some breathing room."
On Tuesday, he says, he got a letter from the homeowners' association telling him the 21-foot pole he erected in September violates the community's aesthetic guidelines.
U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., has gotten involved in the dispute in the hopes of coming to a settlement.
"We intend to get to work right away to try to come up with a solution that’s acceptable to both Col. Barfoot and to the Homeowner’s Association," Warner's office said on his blog.
The American Legion also has joined Barfoot's fight.
"The association underestimated the fight left in this elderly veteran, and now they have to contend with the determination and persistence of Col. Barfoot's 2.5 million friends in The American Legion," National Commander Clarence E. Hill said in a statement.
But the homeowners' association defended their position, saying the issue wasn't Barfoot's right to fly the flag.
"This is not about the American flag. This is about a flagpole," the association said in a statement, insisting that Barfoot directly violated its board's July ruling.
"Col. Barfoot is free to display the American flag in conformity with the neighborhood rules and restrictions. We are hopeful that Col. Barfoot will comply."
Barfoot told the Times-Dispatch that he's faithfully displayed Old Glory every day since he served in the Army.
"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.