The meaning of Veterans Day
Friday, November 11, 2011 we will celebrate Veterans Day in the U.S. From the Department of Veterans Affairs web site:
The Veterans Day National Ceremony is held each year on November 11th at Arlington National Cemetery. The ceremony commences precisely at 11:00 a.m. with a wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknowns and continues inside the Memorial Amphitheater with a parade of colors by veterans’ organizations and remarks from dignitaries. The ceremony is intended to honor and thank all who served in the United States Armed Forces.
The story on Yahoo News
On Thursday, November 3, Yahoo News carried the story Oregon veteran faces eviction if he hangs US flag – it was a story picked up from the Associated Press:
“Edward Zivica, a 70-year-old who served in the Navy in the 1960s, faces a hard choice come Veterans Day next week: He can obey the rules and remain in his apartment complex, or he can follow his tradition of hanging the American flag outside his place.”
I invite you to read the rest of the article on Yahoo News.
Update: It appears this entire issue has been resolved, and Mr. Zivica has been granted permission to hang the U.S. flag on several days of the year. Please read on.
Statement from the housing complex
I could not understand why, or the reasoning for not allowing a Vet fly the American flag on Veterans Day. So I called the CEO of the downtown apartment complex, which is managed by St. Vincent de Paul of Lane County. He was busy replying to calls from concerned citizens. Before long I was put through to Rebecca Larson, Development Director. She explained to me that Mr. Zivica “had not requested permission to fly the flag” in a “common area”. She offered to send me via e-mail their official statement, published in reply to the Yahoo News report. This is Ms. Larson’s reply to me:
St. Vincent de Paul has received a lot of attention today regarding a tenant who was asked to stop hanging a flag from the side of the apartment complex without permission. We would like to share the following updated information.
This morning our tenant agreed to provide a list of dates when he would like to fly his flag. St. Vincent de Paul granted him permission to fly the flag on those dates, provided it is done in a manner that’s respectful to the flag and our other tenants. In accordance with the rules of the complex, St. Vincent de Paul will be happy to grant permission to put an addtional American flag at the complex if tenants inform us in advance. Our tenant feels this issue is resolved, and we are pleased to accommodate his request.
Some additional information:
- This was never an issue about patriotism or respect for veterans. St. Vincent de Paul sponsors numerous emergency assistance, housing and job training opportunities for veterans.
- This was never about the American flag; a lit American flag flies on a flagpole at the complex 24/7.
- We are pleased that this issue has been resolved and we sincerely apologize for the misunderstanding.
Ms. Larson also included in her e-mail message to me their web site link, which contains the same information.
As the Yahoo News report did not mention the request for permission mentioned by Ms. Larson, I e-mailed back, requesting clarification. If true, this was an omission in the original report. At the time of this writing nothing has appeared that mentioned the permission issue, either from AP or from other news organizations reporting it. But I wrote to another reporter.
I wrote to Saul A. Hubbard, reporter for the Register-Guard. I asked Saul if he had information he could share about the permission issue; he agreed I can quote what he told me:
Mr. Zivica’s rental agreement clearly states that he needed the property manager’s permission to attach anything to an exterior wall, but I don’t think he ever asked for permission. I know he definitely received a letter in June of this year telling him that he needed permission to hang the flag. Mr. McDonald and Mr. Zivica disagree on whether he was told before that letter that he needed permission.
Hubbard has published an update to his original report.
- Can landlords in the USA dictate that a tenant NOT fly the American flag on Veterans Day?
- A cursory Google search suggests that nobody in the U.S. can institute bylaw provisions that seem to be contrary to public policy, such as prohibiting the flying of the American flag, among other things.
- Does this mean that a housing complex must, or should have bylaws, that clearly specify to tenants how to go about requesting to fly the American flag?
I look forward to your comments.
Photo credit: Graves at Arlington National Cemetery, American Flag, Veterans Day Holiday,Creative Commons license by Beverly & Pack.