(NaturalNews) To a veteran, little is more sacred than fellow veterans, the future of the country and our national symbol: The American flag. Many love to display the flag at their homes and places of business; they do so as a matter of national pride, not as a way cause angst or problems.
One veteran, however, is in danger of losing his home because he is displaying a small American flag in a flower pot in front of his residence in Jacksonville, Florida.
The veteran, Larry Murphree, told the local CBS affiliate WAWS that the homeowner's association he belongs to in the Sweetwater community has demanded that he remove the flag because he is displaying it in violation of the association's rules.
"They put a foreclosure lien on my house"
What's more, he says that he is facing at least $8,000 in fines if he doesn't remove the flag from the pot.
"I want it to go away. It's such a minor little thing and they keep coming after me," Murphree said. "They just sent me a letter that says I owe them around $8,000 and they put a foreclosure lien on my house."
As of June 26, Murphree said that he had 30 days to pay the fines and remove the flag or the homeowner's association will move ahead with the foreclosure threat.
Murphree has been down this road before; last year he had a similar fight with the association. He filed a lawsuit, which was eventually settled out of court, but the homeowner's association says that this time is different because the flag display rules have been rewritten since then.
"They settled that case and I thought that would be the end of it," he told First Coast News. "Now they're saying they can say what can go into a flower pot and the American flag is an unauthorized object."
"I'll keep fighting"
Florida statute 720.304 section 2a says that "Any homeowner may display one portable, removable United States flag...in a respectful manner...not larger than 4 1/2 feet by 6 feet...regardless of any covenants, restrictions, bylaws, rules, or requirements of the [homeowner's] association."
That would seem to settle the matter, but, apparently, the homeowner's association doesn't think so. As for him, Murphree said he isn't about to stop until he can fly his flag freely at his own home.
"When I first moved here, I loved it. It was wonderful. But it got [to] where I'm being nitpicked more and more. I've lost a lot of friends and neighbors moving out. I don't want to move," he told WAWS.
He told First Coast News about the flag, "I have a right to have it there. [I am] hurt [and] disappointed that they just keep going after the American flag and after me."