A U.S. Marine veteran won a 20-year fight against his homeowners’ association (HOA) to fly an American flag on his property.
Richard Oulton, a Vietnam veteran of the U.S. Marines who resides in Virginia, began his legal fight against his HOA in 1999, when the HOA told him he had to take down his flagpole because neighbors said his flag caused a disturbance to the community.
The Marine veteran took his case to court and lost his case the first time around. He took Old Glory down in 2003, but he continued to fight for his right to honor his fellow Vietnam veterans.
Oulton eventually enlisted the help of Virginia Del. John McGuire (R-Henrico County), who was also a former Navy SEAL, to get his voice heard.
After filing two appeals in court and getting approval from each of his neighbors, Oulton and McGuire were able to convince the HOA to allow the U.S. flag on the property.
“It’s one memory I’ve kept. It’s very important to me. It’s kind of a tattered now but…lot of memories,” Oulton said.
“Our men and women in uniform oftentimes risk their life or even sacrifice their life for freedom and I think the least we can do is get a flag pole up so he can remember his brothers,” said McGuire.
Oulton will raise the American flag on a flagpole located on his property for the first time in a special ceremony in April.
Although Oulton won his fight against his HOA to display the American flag, others who had a similar problem were not as fortunate.
An Air Force veteran claimed in 2018 that he had no choice but to sell his home after his HOA fined him for displaying an American flag in a flower pot outside his condo, and the wife of a Marine had been told by her HOA in 2016 to take down her flag because it ran afoul of the HOA’s rules.