A Vietnam vet who lives in a complex in Farmingdale is being told that he cannot fly the American flag on a flagpole on his property. HOA rules. When you move into a neighborhood that is governed by a homeowners association, it is your responsibility to look into the rules before you get there. He didn’t. I’m normally against letting emotions get in the way of facts. My first reaction to this story was, “Yea, it’s sad and all, but them’s the rules!”

That having been said, if Michael Burtt, a 72 year old Vietnam veteran who proudly served his country wants the right to fly a flag, should the rules not be reevaluated? I understand that the whole idea of a homeowners association is to make sure that the neighborhood is uniform and conforming. But in this case, I think an exception should be made.

The rule is that flagpoles cannot be erected, so Burtt attempted to affix the American flag to his home via the use of a bracket. It didn’t work out. So he put up a makeshift pole. I understand vetoing the makeshift pole, which was probably pretty unsightly. Though Burtt has tried to petition the HOA (with some extremely convincing testimony) that he has the LEGAL right to fly his flag, they unilaterally refuse to bend the rules.

Unless I am missing something, they are just enforcing the rule for the sake of enforcing it. What’s the worst thing that can happen? Someone else will want to erect a pole? Everyone has a flag pole and flies the flag?

I think it’s an easy conciliation to give to a guy who put his life on the line in a very unpopular war and probably came home to a very ugly reception. While I am normally a stickler for rules over emotions, I believe that the old adage “rules are made to be broken” should hold true here.

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