90-year-old World War II veteran Colonel Van T. Barfoot, whose flag pole has been the subject of much debate and national media attention will be allowed to keep flying the stars and stripes at his home in the Sussex Square neighborhood off Gayton Road in Short Pump.
Barfoot received a letter two weeks ago from the Coates & Davenport law firm in Richmond ordering that the flagpole, on which he proudly displays the American flag, be removed by 5:00 p.m. Friday, December 4. He had originally petitioned his neighborhood’s homeowners association for the permission to erect the flagpole in July, but the request was denied because the association claimed it breached its covenants.
The Sussex Square Homeowners Association, facing immense pressure from the public after extensive media coverage, has decided to allow Barfoot to keep his 21-foot free-standing flag pole in place.
Congressmen Eric Cantor and Howard McKeon introduced legislation that would allow all Medal of Honor recipients to have flag poles regardless of community regulations in response to Colonel Barfoot’s story. The issue was even discussed at length early this week at a White House press conference.
Colonel Barfoot’s case follows a similar case in 2001 in which Wyndham resident Richard Oulton, a Vietnam War vet, was required to remove his 20-foot flagpole after the homeowners association, the Wyndham Foundation, cited it as a “visual nuisance.” Oulton’s case made national headlines as well and resulted in the signing of the “Wyndham Flag Law,” prohibiting neighborhood associations from barring flags or flagpoles unless the regulation is disclosed at the time of the home’s sale. Because this was the case with Oulton’s home, he was required to remove the flag.
Downtown Short Pump reporter Lauren Rinker also contributed to this story.