Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Vet Faces Lawsuit For Flying American Flag
CLERMONT, Fla. -- A Central Florida war veteran faces a lawsuit for flying the American flag on a pole in his front yard.
"I don't understand why it would bring down the values of our homes by flying the American flag from a pole in my front yard," homeowner Jimmie Watkins said.
Watkins and his wife, Ria, received a final notice from the Sussex homeowners' association in Clermont that they must remove the flag or face legal action.
The former retired U.S. Navy communications officer said he refuses to back down for the American flag.
"Our people are serving today to give us freedom to do as we like here within the law of America," Watkins said. "It is my right to fly my flag from my pole and until a court of law tells me to haul that down, I will not haul it down. I think about all of the people who have served our nation and all of the lives that it's cost and all of the friends that I've lost."
Local 6 reported that all surrounding subdivisions in Kings Ridge allow a flag pole display in a person's front yard.
Jim Hart, who handles property management for 1,500 properties, including Sussex, said it is the association's call and not his.
"Each sub-association has its own set of documents and they can differ," Hart said. "The rationale for that only exists within the minds of the folks that are doing it. I can't sit here and tell you why."
The homeowner's association is not commenting about their rules. But state law said anyone can display a flag in a "respectful manner" as long as it is removable, Local 6 reported.