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  1. #1
    Atomic Punk
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    Default Congressional Medal of Honor WW II Vet Fights for His Flagpole

    http://www2.timesdispatch.com/rtd/ne...234201/309270/

    RICHMOND, Va. -- A flood of help is building for an embattled Medal of Honor recipient in Henrico County who was ordered this week to remove a flagpole from his yard by his community's homeowners association.

    From the halls of Congress to the 90-year-old colonel's old infantry unit, a local law firm and scores of service members, help is making its way to Col. Van T. Barfoot.

    "He said he was outraged and wanted to help," Barfoot's daughter said yesterday, speaking of U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner, D-Va., who learned of Barfoot's plight on TimesDispatch.com yesterday.

    In a five-paragraph letter that he received Tuesday, Barfoot was ordered to remove the flagpole from his yard in the Sussex Square community in far western Henrico County. The decorated veteran of three wars raises the American flag every morning on the pole, then lowers and folds the flag at dusk in a three-corner military fashion.

    The Coates & Davenport law firm in Richmond sent a priority-mail letter 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 homeowners association's board.

    A Richmond law firm, Marchant, Honey & Baldwin, offered yesterday to represent Barfoot at no cost, partner John Honey said.

    In a statement released last night, the association said Barfoot is in direct violation of its board's July decision to deny his request to erect a flagpole.

    "This is not about the American flag. This is about a flagpole," the statement reads, noting that many homes in the neighborhood display the American flag.

    Margaret Nicholls, Barfoot's daughter, said last night that the statement is using semantics to back up a board decision about the pole that was made on aesthetic, not regulatory grounds. There is no covenant that expressly forbids flag poles, she said.

    Warner has known Barfoot for years and has a high regard for him, Warner spokesman Kevin Hall said. "The senator definitely wants to step in to get something resolved."

    Nicholls said her father's phone "is ringing off the hook." Members of the 157th Infantry Unit, with which he served, have called along with scores of people concerned about Barfoot's welfare, she said.

    Barfoot can't understand why the board allows a flag to hang from an angled pole mounted to the side of a house but disallows a flag flown from a free-standing vertical pole.

    "Where I've been, fighting wars, displaying the flag, military installations, parades, everything else, the flag is vertical. And I've done it that way since I was in the Army," Barfoot said.

    "Dad sort of feels like this is the end," said Nicholls, who lives a few doors away. But she said yesterday 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 for heroic action 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 Affairs Medical Center, Richmond, also carries his name.

    Barfoot regularly began flying the flag on Veterans Day this year, after he returned from an extended trip that began in September, despite the Sussex Square board's decision.

    He said last month 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.

    Barfoot's neighbors are split, with some saying that the community covenants should have no exceptions, and that Barfoot was given the community's covenants before he bought the property. Others support him regardless.

    Sally Hedleston, whose house has a legal flagpole attached, said she has asked board members to make an exception for the Medal of Honor recipient.

    "Some board members say that rules are rules -- well, how many of them have broken the speed limit every day here?" she asked.
    "Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack.” -- Gen. George S. Patton

  2. #2
    Atomic Punk
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    Press Releases
    Senator Webb Urges ‘Reasonable Resolution” of Homeowner Association Dispute Involving World War II Veteran’s Display of American Flag




    December 3, 2009

    Washington, DC – Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) today sent a letter to the legal representative, Karen S. Peterson, of the Sussex Square Homeowners Association in Henrico County to urge “reasonable resolution” of a homeowner dispute between the Association and Medal of Honor winner Colonel Van Barfoot over the installation of a flagpole in the yard of his home for purposes of displaying the American flag.

    Senator Webb wrote in the letter, “As a fellow combat veteran, I hope you and the Association will consider the exceptional nature of Col. Barfoot’s service when considering his pride and determination in honoring our flag. I am pleased to join with many area citizens in expressing my concern over the action taken by the Sussex Square Homeowners Association.”

    “Since it appears that Col. Barfoot’s request was denied based on subjective criteria as opposed to an explicit regulatory violation of the covenants governing the Homeowner’s Association, I would hope that your clients would exercise the discretion afforded to them to develop a reasonable resolution that would allow this distinguished combat veteran to honor our nation in a manner in keeping with the established traditions, customs and regulations governing the display of the flag of the United States of America,” wrote Senator Webb at the conclusion of the letter.


    Text of the letter follows.


    December 3, 2009

    Karen S. Peterson
    Attorney-at-Law
    Coates & Davenport, P.C.
    5206 Markel Road, Suite 200
    Richmond VA 23230


    Dear Ms. Peterson:

    I have been made aware of a situation involving a dispute between your client, the Sussex Square Homeowners Association in Henrico County, Virginia, and a homeowner, Van Barfoot, a retired Army Colonel. It is my understanding that Col. Barfoot installed a flagpole in the yard of his home for purposes of displaying the American flag and that the Homeowners Association is now requiring him to remove this flag pole under threat of legal action. I have been informed that the covenants governing this neighborhood association do not expressly forbid installation of flag poles and that the association opposed the flag pole on the grounds of its aesthetics.

    I am mindful that the Association is a private entity, and I respect its right to regulate such matters. At the same time, as you are aware, Col. Barfoot served this country with great distinction, and I am very disturbed by the treatment that he received as he attempted to honor our nation by flying the American flag in the front yard of his home. The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration awarded by the United States government. It is bestowed on a member of the United States armed forces who distinguishes himself “conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty.” As a fellow combat veteran, I hope you and the Association will consider the exceptional nature of Col. Barfoot’s service when considering his pride and determination in honoring our flag. I am pleased to join with many area citizens in expressing my concern over the action taken by the Sussex Square Homeowners Association.

    Since it appears that Col. Barfoot’s request was denied based on subjective criteria as opposed to an explicit regulatory violation of the covenants governing the Homeowner’s Association, I would hope that your clients would exercise the discretion afforded to them to develop a reasonable resolution that would allow this distinguished combat veteran to honor our nation in a manner in keeping with the established traditions, customs and regulations governing the display of the flag of the United States of America.

    Sincerely,


    Jim Webb

    United States Senator
    "Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack.” -- Gen. George S. Patton

  3. #3
    Hang 'Em High RRMB's Avatar
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    Chalk one up for the good guys!!!

    http://www.wcfcourier.com/news/natio...a2b386872.html

    A 90-year-old Medal of Honor winner can keep his 21-foot flagpole in his front yard after a homeowner's association dropped its request to remove it, a spokesman for Democratic Virginia Sen. Mark Warner said Tuesday.

    The Sussex Square homeowners' association likewise has agreed to drop threats to take legal action against retired Army Col. Van T. Barfoot, Warner spokesman Kevin Hall said.

    The association had threatened to take Barfoot to court if he failed to remove the pole from his suburban Richmond home by Friday. It had said the pole violated the neighborhood's aesthetic guidelines.

    Neither Barfoot's daughter, Margaret Nicholls, nor homeowners' president Glenn Wilson immediately returned telephone messages.

    Dropping the issue effectively ends a request that White House press secretary Robert Gibbs on Monday called "silly."

    Warner and Sen. Jim Webb, both Virginia Democrats, had rallied behind Barfoot, a World War II veteran.

    In a letter last week, Webb urged the association to "consider the exceptional nature of Col. Barfoot's service when considering his pride and determination in honoring our flag."

    Barfoot's fight also has lit up veterans bulletin boards and blog sites supporting him.

    Barfoot won the Medal of Honor for actions while his platoon was under German assault near Carano, Italy, in May 1944. He was credited with standing up to three German tanks with a bazooka and stopping their advance.

    He also won the Purple Heart and other decorations, and served in Korea and Vietnam before retiring from the service in 1974.
    "Jesus, that fucker just crawled out of his hen house that was destroyed by the Alabama tornados. Fucking 280mph plus winds sucked the gleam off this bitch and passed it on to a bird in Rhoad Island." - Hurricane Halen 5/3/11 (about my birthday chicken from seenbad)

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  4. #4
    Damage your reputation seenbad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by voivod View Post

    Barfoot received the Medal of Honor for heroic action 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 Affairs Medical Center, Richmond, also carries his name.
    This dude has earned the right to do just about anyfuckingthing he wants to. Comes close to walking on water in my book.
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  5. #5
    Eruption =VH=316's Avatar
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    Exactly.....to me, he has earned the right to do this. No questions asked.
    Have a little respect for the man for god's sake.
    What's really sad is that it took all of this crap to make them drop everything. It shouldn't have been so hard....hell, it should have never been an issue in the first place.
    Good thing to know:
    Never, under any circumstances, take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night.

  6. #6
    Unchained Stidham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by =VH=316 View Post
    Exactly.....to me, he has earned the right to do this. No questions asked.
    Have a little respect for the man for god's sake.
    What's really sad is that it took all of this crap to make them drop everything. It shouldn't have been so hard....hell, it should have never been an issue in the first place.
    It's not like he was wanting to display a Jamacian flag, play reggae music and sell pot out of his garage. Jeez, I hate those neighborhood associations. If it wasn't for guys like him, they wouldn't have the right to even form their stupid association. Way to go Col. Barfoot!!!!
    Ladies and gentlemen, hobos and tramps, Cross-eyed mosquitoes and bowlegged ants; I'm here before you to stand behind you To tell you something I know nothing about... ~Sammy Hagar

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  7. #7
    Baluchitherium loveevhsince79's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stidham View Post
    It's not like he was wanting to display a Jamacian flag, play reggae music and sell pot out of his garage. Jeez, I hate those neighborhood associations. If it wasn't for guys like him, they wouldn't have the right to even form their stupid association. Way to go Col. Barfoot!!!!
    I understand the resentment for the associations but if it wasn't for them, you would have people playing loud reggae music while they sell pot out of their garage. The only reason they exist is because some people won't take care of their property and that in turn brings down everyone's property values. You also have a right to buy a house in a neighborhood where they don't exist.

    Being very pro military, I totally support and admire someone's service especially someone who has won the Medal of Honor but I have to wonder if this was a new rule or one that was in place when the Col. moved there? I'm sure the Col. is very used to rules and they are not saying he can not display a flag, only the manner in which it's displayed. That's really no different than the military saying how a flag is displayed which they are VERY particular about. It just seems that this will in fact open the door for everyone to display "their" flag however they want too. So the next guy who says he has to have his draped over his rooftop will have to be allowed or it will be discrimination.
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  8. #8
    Hang 'Em High RRMB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by loveevhsince79 View Post
    I understand the resentment for the associations but if it wasn't for them, you would have people playing loud reggae music while they sell pot out of their garage. The only reason they exist is because some people won't take care of their property and that in turn brings down everyone's property values. You also have a right to buy a house in a neighborhood where they don't exist.

    Being very pro military, I totally support and admire someone's service especially someone who has won the Medal of Honor but I have to wonder if this was a new rule or one that was in place when the Col. moved there? I'm sure the Col. is very used to rules and they are not saying he can not display a flag, only the manner in which it's displayed. That's really no different than the military saying how a flag is displayed which they are VERY particular about. It just seems that this will in fact open the door for everyone to display "their" flag however they want too. So the next guy who says he has to have his draped over his rooftop will have to be allowed or it will be discrimination.
    From the initial story, there wasn't a rule about not being able to have a flag pole. And the rules pertaining to displaying a flag were vague, at best.

    Col. Barfoot is actually displaying the colors in it's most respected/proper form, by raising & lowering them every day, from an actual pole.
    Last edited by RRMB; 12.09.09 at 07:06 PM.
    "Jesus, that fucker just crawled out of his hen house that was destroyed by the Alabama tornados. Fucking 280mph plus winds sucked the gleam off this bitch and passed it on to a bird in Rhoad Island." - Hurricane Halen 5/3/11 (about my birthday chicken from seenbad)

    "Pete is this big, loud muthafucker with a big ass heart, y'all!!!!---------" - Hurricane Halen 9/27/13

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