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Vietnam Marine vet wins 20-year HOA dispute to fly US flag

A photo of the American flag waving in the wind. (Angelsharum/Wikimedia Commons)
March 21, 2019

A Virginia Marine veteran won his battle against a homeowners association that ordered him to remove the American flag from his property 20 years ago.

Vietnam veteran Richard Oulton’s relentless 20-year challenge to fly a flag on his own property ended when he finally convinced the Wyndham Homeowners Association in Henrico to allow him to fly the flag, ABC 13 News reported.

Oulton will be able to put his flag back up and fly it proudly, and plans to hold a special service next month to raise Old Glory once again.

The victory came after Oulton contacted Virginia state lawmaker John McGuire, who is a former Navy SEAL, for help in convincing the HOA.

“They asked us to poll our neighbors and we polled all of the neighbors that were adjacent, nine houses and (it) was 100 percent support,” Oulton said.

Together, McGuire and Oulton sought every neighbor’s consent and after two appeals, Oulton was given their blessings to return his flag to the pole and let her fly.

The HOA claimed the flag was a visual nuisance when they ordered him to remove it in 1999. When they took the matter to court, the court sided with the homeowner’s association, forcing Oulton to remove the flag in 2003.

Upon removing the flag, Oulton told Fox News, “I’m standing in my front yard being told my American flag is a visual nuisance. I think it’s horrible, but I have to comply.”

Even after the court ordered Oulton to remove his flag and 25-foot flag pole on his property some 16 years ago, he never gave up the battle, typical for Marines.

Oulton, a former 1st Battalion, 9th Marines medic in the Vietnam War, originally flew the flag on a 25-foot-pole alongside a plaque that memorialized his fallen brothers in service.

Oulton’s flag is of great significance as it is the “flag taken from his military bunker and one that was used to honor the 749 brothers he lost in Vietnam, the greatest loss in Marine Corps history for a single battalion,” ABC 13 News noted.

Oulton said, “It’s one memory I’ve kept. It’s very important to me. It’s kind of a tattered now but…lot of memories.”

He added, “The memories are always there. Unfortunately, they’re deep inside me and I can’t clear them out.”

The unit suffered so many fatalities that it became well known as “The Walking Dead.”

McGuire 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.”