Vet Wins Right To Fly Flag High After Ex-SEAL Lawmaker Steps into 20-Year-Old Fight


As liberalism and progressive leftism have become firmly entrenched in virtually all aspects of society, so too have the undercurrents of anti-Americanism and a distinct lack of respect for the men and women who serve this country underneath the rippling stars and stripes of the American flag.

One place where the fight against the proud display of the American flag has been readily apparent is with homeowners’ associations, some of whom have passed restrictive bylaws and regulations that expressly prohibit the flying of any sort of flags on property within the HOA-governed neighborhood, including the American flag.

However, score a win for the good guys and patriotism, as a Vietnam veteran in Virginia just won a legal battle that started 20 years ago against his HOA for the necessary permission to fly his beloved American flag.

WRIC in Richmond reported on the decades-long saga of Henrico, Virginia, resident Richard Oulton, who in 1999 was first ordered by the Wyndham Homeowners Association that governed his neighborhood to take down a massive flag pole in his front yard on which he flew a large American flag.

Oulton was sued by the HOA over his right to fly his flag, and ultimately lost the court battle in 2003 and admitted defeat as he took the flag pole down.

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At that time, Oulton had said, “I’m standing in my front yard being told my American flag is a visual nuisance and I can’t fly it in support of the troops in Iraq. I think it’s horrible, but I have to comply.”

Now, some 20 years after that initial fight, Oulton can raise Old Glory in his front yard once again, following some assistance on his behalf by a former Navy SEAL turned Virginia House Delegate named John McGuire.

Check out the WRIC story here:

“The one thing that unites us in this country is that American flag,” McGuire, a Republican, told WRIC.  “And when I heard about that I was like, ‘We got to get that American flag up.'”

Rather than fight it out in court again, McGuire and Oulton appealed twice to the Wyndham HOA — which was now controlled by actual homeowners instead of the real estate developers, as before — to reconsider the prohibition against the flag. With a little support from the rest of Oulton’s neighbors, the old veteran won.

“They asked us to poll our neighbors and we polled all of the neighbors that were adjacent, nine houses, and was 100 percent support,” Oulton said.

As for the flag that Oulton intends to fly, it is more than just a piece of cloth or even a generic representation of the nation, but rather a personal memory from his combat service.

It was the flag that flew atop his bunker in Vietnam when he served as a medic with the 1st Battalion of the 9th Marines, a unit that has been dubbed “The Walking Dead” due to the extraordinary casualty rates it suffered during the Vietnam War.

To Oulton, that flag flies “For the 749 Marines that I served with. For their memory.” He added, “The memories are always there. Unfortunately, they’re deep inside me and I can’t clear them out.”

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Of the flag itself, Oulton told WRIC, “It’s one memory I’ve kept. It’s very important to me. It’s kind of a tattered now but … lot of memories.”

Do you think HOAs should refrain from regulating the flying of American flags?

McGuire told the station: “Our men and women in uniform oftentimes risk their life or even sacrifice their life for freedom, and I think the least we can do is get a flag pole up so he can remember his brothers.”

The two veterans — one young, one old — intend to hold a special ceremony on April 27 to hoist that tattered, yet cherished old flag up the new pole for the first time.

To be sure, HOAs are private organizations that have every right to set rules and regulations for their members, including prohibiting the flying of the American flag.

However, like so many other things in life, just because one has a right to do something, doesn’t mean that something is the right thing to do.

And that includes preventing an old veteran from flying an American flag in honor of his fellow service members who paid the ultimate price for our nation’s freedoms.

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Ben Marquis is a writer who identifies as a constitutional conservative/libertarian. He has written about current events and politics for The Western Journal since 2014. His focus is on protecting the First and Second Amendments.
Ben Marquis has written on current events and politics for The Western Journal since 2014. He reads voraciously and writes about the news of the day from a conservative-libertarian perspective. He is an advocate for a more constitutional government and a staunch defender of the Second Amendment, which protects the rest of our natural rights. He lives in Little Rock, Arkansas, with the love of his life as well as four dogs and four cats.
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