Veteran Delia Foster didn’t give up when her homeowners association said that she had to remove the American flag from a flag pole in her yard. When the HOA first instructed Foster to take down her American flag, they called the flag pole an unapproved “structure.”
“I am also a person who fights for what I think is right, I will do research, get to the bottom of things,” Tennessee resident Delia Foster told WBIR-TV. When she took down the American flag in her yard, she felt like there was an empty space in her heart, Delia said. Delia Foster served 24 years in the U.S. Air Force and retired in 1999. The American flag was given to Foster by her brother last summer. Foster’s brother is also a veteran. At that time, Delia checked the View Harbor Neighborhood Association‘s rules. She said that she found nothing that restricted flag poles or the American flag.
“When you look through the covenants, the words ‘flag pole’ and ‘flag’ are not here,” Delia told WBIR-TV. The HOA told her that she could hang a flag on her house, but the flag pole had to go. Foster didn’t believe they had any legal right to restrict the flag pole, so she did some research.
“I do feel that the flag is considered a living entity. I do think it deserves attention and respect at all times. I think that the best way to display it is on a flag pole where it can fly freely,” Foster explained at the time. At first, she was fined one hundred dollars for every month that it remained in her yard. She planned to remove it, and honor the homeowners restrictions until she was able to prove that she had the right to hang the American flag on a flag pole. She didn’t want to just take the pole with the American flag down as though it were a meaningless structure, so she incurred fines, planning an American Legion ceremony to lower the flag respectfully.
“I think the flag deserves that respect,” she said at the time.
Now, she rejoices, because she found a loophole. The Freedom to Display the American Flag Act of 2005 states that associations like Delia Foster’s HOA may not restrict or prevent their members from displaying the American flag on residential property if the property has separate ownership or use rights, but her HOA said she could hang a flag from her house, just not prominently on the pole. Delia’s loophole was legally simple.
Her HOA follows county codes. After speaking with the mayor, Delia found out that the county does not legally consider flagpoles to be structures. A ceremonial flag raising quickly followed.
“It really makes me feel great to be able to walk under that flying flag again,” she said.
Dalia Foster isn’t the first American told to take down the U.S. flag, and when it happens, it often doesn’t bode well for the HOA or governing body.
— Don McDonough (@Builder26) February 22, 2015
— Tara West (@TaraMWest) July 4, 2014
[Photo via WBIR/Facebook]