Medal of Honor vet vows to fly US flag unhindered

AP News
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Posted: Dec 09, 2009 5:00 PM

A 90-year-old Medal of Honor winner says he plans to fly Old Glory "without interference" for the rest of his life, now that his homeowners' association has dropped a demand to take down a 21-foot flagpole in his front yard.

Retired Army Col. Van T. Barfoot read a statement Wednesday thanking people nationwide who backed his efforts to fly the American flag at his home.

Barfoot's comments came a day after the Sussex Square homeowners' association dropped threats of legal action. He had erected the flagpole in September, despite being denied permission to do so because it violated the neighborhood's aesthetic guidelines.

Barfoot received the Medal of Honor after standing up to three German tanks with a bazooka during World War II.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ A 90-year-old Medal of Honor winner can keep his 21-foot flagpole in his front yard after a homeowner's association dropped its request to remove it, a spokesman for Democratic Virginia Sen. Mark Warner said Tuesday.

The Sussex Square homeowners' association likewise has agreed to drop threats to take legal action against retired Army Col. Van T. Barfoot, Warner spokesman Kevin Hall said.

The association had threatened to take Barfoot to court if he failed to remove the pole from his suburban Richmond home by Friday. It had said the pole violated the neighborhood's aesthetic guidelines.

Neither Barfoot's daughter, Margaret Nicholls, nor homeowners' president Glenn Wilson immediately returned telephone messages.

Dropping the issue effectively ends a request that White House press secretary Robert Gibbs on Monday called "silly."

Warner and Sen. Jim Webb, both Virginia Democrats, had rallied behind Barfoot, a World War II veteran.

In a letter last week, Webb urged the association to "consider the exceptional nature of Col. Barfoot's service when considering his pride and determination in honoring our flag."

Barfoot's fight also has lit up veterans bulletin boards and blog sites supporting him.

Barfoot won the Medal of Honor for actions while his platoon was under German assault near Carano, Italy, in May 1944. He was credited with standing up to three German tanks with a bazooka and stopping their advance.

He also won the Purple Heart and other decorations, and served in Korea and Vietnam before retiring from the service in 1974.