The Guy Who Wouldn’t Take His Flag Down!

You might remember a news story several months ago about a crotchety old man who defied his homeowner’s association by refusing to take down the flagpole on his property and the large flag flying on it. Now learn who, exactly, is this old man.

On June 15, 1919, Van T. Barfoot was born in Edinburg — probably didn’t make much news back then. Twenty-five years later, on May 23, 1944, near Italy Van T. Barfoot, who had enlisted in the US Army in 1940, set out to flank German machine gun positions from which fire was coming down on his fellow soldiers. He advanced through a minefield, took out three enemy machine gun positions and returned with 17 prisoners of war. If that wasn’t enough for a day’s work, he later took on and destroyed three German tanks sent to retake the machine gun positions.

That probably didn’t make much news either, given the scope of the war, but it did earn Van T. Barfoot, who retired as a colonel after also serving in Korea and Vietnam, The Congressional Medal of Honor.

What did make news was a neighborhood association’s quibble with how the 90-year-old veteran chose to fly the American flag outside his suburban Virginia home. Seems the HOA rules said a flag could be only flown on a house-mounted bracket, but for decorum, items such as Barfoot’s 21-foot flagpole were unsuitable.

He had been denied a permit for the pole but erected it anyway and was now facing court action if he didn’t take it down. Since the story made National TV, the neighborhood association rethought its position and agreed to indulge this old hero who dwells among them.

“In the time I have left, I plan to continue to fly the American flag without Interference” Barfoot told The Associated Press. As well he should. If any of his neighbors still takes a notion to contest him, they might want to take a moment and read his Medal of Honor citation. It indicates he’s not really good at backing down. Van T. Barfoot’s Medal of Honor citation: This 1944 Medal of Honor citation, listed with the National Medal of Honor Society, is for Second Lieutenant Van T. Barfoot, 157th Infantry, 45th Infantry:


Thank you, Sir!

©2024. Lyle J. Rapacki, Ph.D. All rights reserved.

RELATED VIDEO: Living History of Medal of Honor Recipient Van T. Barfoot

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