We don't fly Old Glory in our front yard because we don't have a front yard, we don't have anything, we live in a hallway under a DIY tent crafted from discarded plastic H&M shopping bags. But Fred Quigley's got a yard, and he wants to put a flag in it. Why can't he?
Because the dumb homeowners' association that rules over the Villas at Taramina retirement community in Macedonia, Ohio, where he lives, asserts that his flagpole violates their special flagpole rules. They want Quigley—a 77-year-old minister and veteran of the Korean and Vietnam wars—to take his flag off the flagpole and put it on a "short stanchion" in compliance with the neighborhood's holy book of regulations. If he doesn't, they vow to take him to court.
Are there any health and safety benefits to making Quigley do this? Indeed there are, says Joseph Migliorini, manager of the Villas' neighborhood association as well as a partner in the development firm that's building said Villas:
"Landscapers have to work around it," Magliorini says. Furthermore, he says federal standards of flag etiquette require that unless the displayer of the flag takes it down at night, it must be illuminated. "That creates a need for electricity to be run out to the pole."
But Quigley doesn't want to put his flag on any stanchion dealie. He prefers the flagpole for aesthetic and philosophical reasons:
"To me, a flagpole is a thing of boldness and is substantial," he said. "Putting a flag on your house is like putting a wreath on your door. It doesn't mean as much."
Maybe the association's just like almost every other annoying neighborhood association and too OCD about landscaping. Maybe Quigley's willing to pay for his own flag-illuminating electricity. Maybe the association should just let this guy fly his damned flag, because he fought wars so they could be free to fight wars about flag placement.
Maybe Quigley should fly a big DIY anarchy flag from that pole, made out of plastic H&M bags and electrical tape.