A Fort Hood soldier is facing off with a homeowner’s association over his decision to fly an American flag in his yard.
Army Sgt. Chris Link, who rents a home in a Killeen, Texas, community told Temple, Texas, news station KCEN-TV that he was shocked to see an email on Wednesday from the homeowner’s association (HOA) president, in which he was informed he would need to remove a flag hanging on a pole in his front yard or face fines.
As per community guidelines, a flag may only be displayed on a pole four days a year: Memorial Day, Labor Day, Veterans Day and Flag Day.
"Please understand 90% of the homeowners are retired military and when the four days of the year that we can display our flags, we do. So, please remove the flag so there will be no violation sent out with a fine attached to it," the email said.
Link complied and removed the flag from the pole, but then used brackets to hang it on his home instead. The soldier followed-up with an email to an HOA manager, informing her of the Freedom to Display the American Flag Act of 2005, which "prohibits real estate management organizations from restricting homeowners from displaying the flag of the United States on their property."
The manager said that due to the act, he would not be fined.
Yet despite removing the flag from the pole and putting it on his home instead, the HOA president claimed Link was still in conflict with community rules.
"They said you can't have a flagpole and so I took it off the flagpole and then the HOA president who lives right down the street still told me that I can't fly my flag, period," Link said.
The HOA president emailed Link informing him fines would be sent out the same day if he did not remove the flag from the house.
"The issue is settled and frankly, I think it is absolutely disgusting and unpatriotic of you to try to bully the members of this community into not flying an AMERICAN flag," Link said in a reply email to the HOA president.
"The owner was the one that ask(ed) me to send him pictures of his home and yes, he said for you to remove the flag," the HOA president replied via email, according to the station. "When the owner of the property say(s) do something, you comply. Sorry you (feel) that we are unpatriotic. I served 28 years in the military, but the HOA has its own by-laws that will be followed and you will follow them like everyone else, no exception."
Many members of Link's community are now flying American flags in support.
"I don't think anybody who has a home in the United States of America should be told they can't fly the colors, the flag for that same country they're residing in," Clifford Devaul, a veteran and Link's neighbor, told KCEN-TV.
KCEN-TV reached out to Associa Hill Country, the HOA, and was told flag poles attached to homes are allowed but they must be approved first. In this case, the actual homeowner who Link rents from did not approve the pole attachment to the home.
"That flag means more to me than a lot of people realize," Link told the station. "That's the only reason I joined the Army; was to fight for my country because I love that flag and everything that flag stands for."
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