Life
Fort Hood soldier is up in arms after being told to remove American flag from his home
He says displaying the flag is a right afforded by federal law.
Elijah Chan
12.06.22

When do one’s rights overlap with community bylaws?

That is one of the heated topics especially when it comes to the rules imposed by local Homeowner’s Associations.

YouTube Screenshot - KCEN News
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - KCEN News

A soldier is facing a battle he never expected he’d find himself in and it started a conversation about how much power can HOAs impose on personal liberties.

Sgt. Chris Link who lives in Falls of Fox Creek in Killeen received a warning email.

The soldier was being asked by the local Home Owner’s Association to take down the flag that was hanging on a pole in his yard.

YouTube Screenshot - KCEN News
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - KCEN News

The email from the HOA president said that as per the community’s bylaws and guidelines, flags can’t be flown on poles and can only be done so during four holidays.

YouTube Screenshot - KCEN News
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - KCEN News

These holidays include Memorial Day, Labor Day, Veterans Day, and Flag Day.

Sgt. Link was then threatened with a violation and a file if he failed to comply.

The email from the HOA told Sgt. Link that if he will not incur a violation and a fine if removes the flag and that 90% of the homeowners were retired military.

YouTube Screenshot - KCEN News
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - KCEN News

Sgt. Link then removed the flag from the pole and transferred it to his doorway.

He fastened the flag with brackets where the flag hung from an arch.

His response to the email stated that displaying the flag is a right afforded by federal law.

The law he cited, the Freedom to Display the American Flag Act of 2005, states:

A condominium association, cooperative association, or residential real estate management association may not adopt or enforce any policy or enter into any agreement, that would restrict or prevent an association member from displaying the U.S. flag on residential property.”

Pexels - Jessica Lewis Creative
Source:
Pexels - Jessica Lewis Creative

The only caveats to the law are if the act is inconsistent with any federal law or any rule or custom pertaining to the proper display or use of the flag or if the act is inconsistent with the proper time, place, or manner of displaying.

After explaining this to the HOA manager, the manager said he wouldn’t be fined.

However, it was a different story when it comes to the HOA president.

Sgt. Link also explained these points but the president was still resistant.

Pexels - Jonathan Meyer
Source:
Pexels - Jonathan Meyer

“You cannot display your flag. We have gone through this with a number of homeowners. Please remove it, or I will have your fine sent out today,” the HOA president replied, according to KCEN Channel 6.

Sgt. Link then moved to criticize the HOA president.

He said that it was “absolutely disgusting and unpatriotic” of the HOA president especially when the bylaws are allegedly used to bully the community to not fly the American flag.

YouTube Screenshot - KCEN News
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - KCEN News

Meanwhile, Sgt. Link’s landlord also asked him to take down the flag while also reiterating that he served in the military for 28 years.

He also emphasized that the community is bound by its bylaws.

YouTube Screenshot - KCEN News
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - KCEN News

KCEN Channel 6 also reached out to the HOA and was told that the bylaws allow approved flag poles attached to homes but the homeowner did not approve of the pole attached to the house.

Watch how a soldier and the local HOA went into a feud over flag-displaying rights.

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By Elijah Chan
[email protected]
Elijah Chan is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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