- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 8, 2002

SUFFOLK, Va. (AP) Sally Parrott, whose husband fought against the Taliban in Afghanistan, is battling her homeowners association over the right to fly the American flag in her front yard.
Mrs. Parrott is defending her 10-foot flagpole, which is surrounded by landscaping and a red brick border and flies the American flag.
The Burbage Grant Owners Association has asked the Parrotts to take down the flagpole or risk a fine of $10 per day. According to neighborhood architectural guidelines, residents can fly flags only from mounts on houses, not flagpoles.
The Parrotts have received three letters warning of their violation, but with support from their neighbors, they're not budging.
"This is so People's Republic of China," said neighbor Tracy A. Ralphs, a lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserve who also works in military intelligence. "He's defending the flag, and they won't let him fly it in this manner."
Mrs. Parrott's husband, a 19-year Navy veteran, was on duty in the Persian Gulf on September 11, 2001. His ship fired some of the first strikes against the Taliban in Afghanistan.
The Parrotts asked that he not be identified while Mrs. Parrott takes on the fight for their flag.
"It's beyond ridiculous. You can burn a flag, but you can't fly one," she said. "This is a different world now. It's an honor and a privilege to fly the flag."
Mrs. Parrott said she and her husband had flown flags from a mount on the porch but that thorny rosebushes kept tearing them up. Mrs. Parrott thought of removing the bushes, but that would have required permission from the homeowners association.
The Parrotts were not aware of the association's rule when they erected the flagpole in May, she said. She is scheduled to meet with the association's board of directors Wednesday and plans to offer a compromise that involves taking down the flagpole whenever the flag is not being flown. Some flagpoles can be slipped into an underground sleeve with ease, Mrs. Parrott said.
The association's guidelines are intended to protect property values in the development, said John Countryman, association president.
"Everybody is the same as far as architecture," he said. "Imagine if we allow it and all 1,400 houses decide to put up a flagpole."
Residents and homeowners' associations have clashed elsewhere over patriotic displays.
In Newport News, Jim Sumner Jr. had to remove a flag made of electric lights from the roof of his Kiln Creek condominium about a year ago. Last year, a Henrico County Circuit Court judge ordered Richard J. Oulton to pay $82,000 to his homeowners' association after a two-year legal battle over a 25-foot flagpole.

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