A flag displayed on common ground sparks debate between veteran and Homeowners Association.
The deadline to remove an American flag and flag pole from common group came and went for retired Army sergeant and his wife. Homer Hampton, the sergeant, refused to obey and take down the flag from in front of his house. The Hampton’s live in Sevierville’s Riverbend Gardens community, where their front lawn is considered common ground and flying a flag on it is prohibited.
Both Homer and his wife Shirley do not see the big issue in displaying the nation’s colors and believe they should be able to fly the flag where they want to. Master Sergeant Hampton retired from the Army after serving for 21 years. He earned the Combat Infantryman Badge and two Bronze Stars during his two tours in Vietnam with the Green Berets.
Congress passed the Freedom to Display the American Flag Act seven years ago and was supposed to put an end to disagreements such as this one. The act prohibited a blanket ban on flying the American flag, but allows restrictions on time, place, and the manner in which the flag can be flown.
Homeowners association (HOA) member Doris Stogner said, “We’re not asking him to take the flag down, we’re just asking him to move it.” The association showed Hampton several places he could move his flag to, including the side of his house or in a shrubbery garden next to the window.
Hampton says he is very firm on his position and plans to take the American flag dispute to a higher court if the HOA keeps pressing the issue. While Homer will admit the flag is on common ground, he plans to stand his ground no matter what comes his way.