Deadline looms for veteran to remove flagpole

By Tara Morgan - bio | email

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) – A deadline is fast approaching for a Henrico Medal of Honor recipient who has now been ordered to take down his flagpole or face legal action.

Col. Van Barfoot has until Friday at 5 pm to remove his flagpole or face a civil suit. Senator Mark Warner called the 90 year old to offer his support. Barfoot is hoping his community association will have a change of heart.

Decorated veteran, Col. Barfoot, lowers the stars and stripes at dusk. By the same time Friday, Col. Barfoot says he'll decided whether his flagpole comes down too. A decision he's being forced to make.

"It's most desirable that I keep it flying," said Col. Barfoot.

Col. Barfoot received a letter Tuesday from an attorney hired by the Sussex Square Homeowner's Association threatening to file a civil lawsuit if he doesn't. Barfoot's daughter says there is no provision in the community rules forbidding flagpoles. The homeowner's association says there "is", and in July denied Col. Barfoot's request to have one.

"In this time where patriotism seems to be lacking and political correctness is out there, we thought maybe, just maybe, they could do this one thing," said Col. Barfoot's daughter, Margaret Nicholls.

Senator Mark Warner called him at home. Warner also expressed his outrage on Twitter and to us by phone.

"I know that communities ought to have rules, but oh my gosh, if there's a time to make an exception to the rule for somebody whose served our country Medal of Honor winner for World War II, at a time when our troops are in harms way in Iraq and Afghanistan, maybe there's no legal way for them, but sure as heck convince this subdivision to give this American hero a chance to raise his flag," said Warner.

Board president, Glenn Wilson, declined to comment on camera, but the homeowners association offered this statement: it reads in part:

"This is not about the American flag. This is about a flagpole. Col. Barfoot is free to display the American flag in conformity with the neighborhood rules and restrictions. We are hopeful that Col. Barfoot will comply."- Sussex Square Services, Inc.

Col. Barfoot's daughter says she's already been contacted by an attorney who wants to represent her father pro bono.

(c) 2009. WWBT, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.