Two US military veterans living in Woodstock, Georgia are in a dispute with their local homeowner’s association regarding their right to fly their American flags year round. Pete Rockett, an Air Force veteran, and Tom Wilder, a US Navy Veteran, refused to take down the flags even after receiving complaints from the Village at Town Lake Homeowner’s Association.
According to an email from the Village at Town Lake HOA, and as reported by Fox News, there are only 23 days out of the year where the display of the American flag is approved. Residents are also restricted in how the flag can be shown as the HOA rules require them to be placed in flag holders attached to the houses and not placed in the ground.
An email from the HOA stated the restrictions were created to ensure the “aesthetic and architectural theme” of the community.
Both Rockett and Wilder are refusing to take down their flags. Speaking about the request, Rockett said, “It would be a travesty to take that flag down.” He also said that, with the restriction, “you’re basically saying it’s a decoration,” or that the HOA is “equating it to Christmas lights.” Rockett went on to say, “It is far more to me.”
Wilder had a similar perspective, saying, “You don’t mess with my flag.”
When asked if he intended to follow the HOA’s wishes about taking the flag down, Wilder said, “When I’m dead.”
One resident was so upset about the restriction, outlined in an email from the HOA to residents, he decided to put his home up for sale.
The rules created by the HOA limits the displaying of a flag to specific holidays, and only from dawn to dusk, though what they consider a holiday is somewhat arbitrary. For example, flags can be flown on Mother’s Day, but Father’s Day is surprisingly not on the list of approved times.
For the other 342 days each year, the flag must be taken down. Otherwise, residents can be fined for failing to meet the standard outlined by the HOA.
The Village at Town Lake Homeowner’s Association, when asked about the restriction, issued no comment.