A Texas soldier in the Falls of Fox Creek community in Killeen is feuding with the local homeowners association over demands he remove an American flag he’s proudly flying from his rented home.
Sgt. Chris Link, who is stationed at Fort Hood, told KCEN he received an email from the HOA last week demanding he remove an American flag he installed on a flag pole in his front yard because it violated rules against free standing flagpoles, as well as restrictions on when residents can display Old Glory.
The email stated community residents can only fly the American flag on four specific days each year: Memorial Day, Labor Day, Veterans Day and Flag Day, according to the news site.
“Please understand 90 percent of the homeowners are retired military and when the four days of the year that we can display our flags, we do,” the email read. “So, please remove the flag so there will be no violation sent out with a fine attached to it.”
The letter didn’t sit well with Link, who removed the flag from the pole, attached it to the home, and sent a letter to the HOA manager advising her of the Freedom to Display the American Flag Act of 2005, a federal law that prohibits associations from restricting homeowners from displaying the U.S. flag.
Throughout the debacle, Link communicated with both the HOA president Robert Woods and the HOA manager Tosha Purifoy. And while the manager acknowledged the federal law, Woods pushed back and threatened to “have your fine sent out today” if he did not remove the flag from the home. The president also spoke with the property’s owner, who also requested that Link remove the brackets on the home he used to hang the flag.
“You cannot display your flag,” Woods wrote in an email. “We have gone through this with a number of homeowners. Please remove it, or I will have your fine sent out today.”
The Flag Act allows for a “reasonable restriction” on the flags, but Link pointed out to the HOA president that “four days out of the year is not reasonable and will not stand up in court.”
Link has no plans to remove the flag, and he thinks it’s preposterous the HOA is fighting him to take it down, The Journal-News reports.
“The issue is settled and frankly, I think it is absolutely disgusting and unpatriotic of you to try to bully the members of this community into not flying an AMERICAN flag,” Link wrote in an email to the HOA president.
“That flag means more to me than a lot of people realize,” Link told KCEN. “That’s the only reason I joined the Army, was to fight for my country, because I love that flag and I love everything that flag stands for.”
Link isn’t the only one speaking up. His neighbors have since put their own American flags on display in defiance of the HOA rules to support Link.
“I think it’s crazy. This is America,” retired veteran Billy Walker told the news site. “We should be able to fly our flags. … I’m offended. I’m a retiree, medically retired at that.”
“I don’t think anybody who has a home in the United States of America should be told they can’t fly the … the colors, the flag for the same country they are residing in,” another neighbor, veteran Clifford Devaul said.
Link said he’s contemplated a petition to push the issue, and he’s willing to do whatever it takes to keep his flag flying.
“It’s kind of ridiculous his has to go that far for an American flag,” he said, “but I’m willing to take it as far as it needs to go.”