Salem, Virginia–a small, independent city just west of Roanoke –is like the all-American towns you see in the movies with its beautiful old homes, restored downtown business district, state championship high school football team, and a general “down-home” feel. That’s why it seemed so out of character for all-American Salem when a report surfaced late last week that the management of an apartment complex in Salem had ordered a U.S. Army vet who lives there to remove a small American flag from his patio.
According to the letter sent from Riverwalk Apartments, tenants are only allowed to set out patio furniture, plants, and up to three working bicycles as a way to keep the property clean. Though our camera caught at least one unit that had more bicycles. It’s why [Specialist Tyler] Barge is wondering why displaying the flag is even an issue.
…”The only thing the lease says about the flag is that it cannot be hanging from anything and as you can see that flag is not,” says Barge.
After a brutal weekend in the local press, the management of Specialist Barge’s apartment complex relented and announced that it will allow him to continue displaying his small American flag in a flower pot on his patio.
We see similar stories every year: residents–often veterans–are told by property managers or homeowners associations that they cannot display an American flag because doing so violates their lease or HOA’s bylaws. A public outcry follows after which the resident is allowed to keep his or her flag. It’s unfortunate that this keeps happening, but at least in all-American Salem, Specialist Barge can continue to fly the flag of the nation he defended.