A Marine veteran in South Carolina is up in arms after he was told he was not allowed to raise a flagpole to fly the American flag on his property because of homeowners association rules.
Gary Pittman of Rock Hill, South Carolina, is a veteran combat Marine who petitioned to his neighborhood's homeowners association to raise a flagpole on his property. Despite his wishes to fly his country’s flag over his home, his neighborhood’s homeowners association denied his plea.
“This is crazy,” Pittman said. “All I want to do is show my love for my country. I was in Charleston over the weekend, and in a (homeowners association) neighborhood there were flagpoles with American flags at so many houses.”
He added, “But I am not backing down. I am doing this anyway.”
Pittman says he intends to fly the flag at half-mast when necessary as well as raise and lower the flag in ritual.
“I fought for that flag,” Pittman said.
Pittman is reportedly a veteran of five combat tours. He has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder due to the combat he experienced, reports The State.
Members of the homeowners association reportedly discussed Pittman’s military service and put it into consideration when talking about his petition.
However, some members of the association were worried that the flagpole would set precedent for other homeowners to fly other flags that might be considered offensive. They also considered the size, location, and certain esthetic aspects of Pittman’s flag.
The homeowners association sent Pittman a letter stating that he has the option to form a team to raise and lower the American flag from the community flagpole outside of the neighborhood’s entrance. It says this would be a greater honor to military service members.
In 2005, a federal law was passed that allows the American flag to be flown without restrictions. The law does allow for homeowners associations to restrict people from doing so if agreed upon when purchasing a property.
The incident has drawn the ire of other military veterans. The York County Veterans Affairs officials met with Pittman on Aug. 3 to discuss the issue, reports The State.
“Once he gets advice from a lawyer, we have a group of guys ready and willing to help Mr. Pittman put up a flagpole that he believes is his right,” said Al Guest, a member of the Olde English Leathernecks Marine Corps organization. “All Mr. Pittman wants to do is show his patriotism.”
“I just want to fly the American flag,” said Pittman, “and I have to go through all this.”
Upon hearing the story, many took to Facebook to voice their opinions and comments on the incident.
“No one should have to ask permission to fly the American flag,” wrote one user.
“Thank you for your service,” another user wrote. “My opinion is our flag is a symbol of our country, we should never have to get permission to fly it.”