Decorated vet stands his ground in dispute over American flag

Decorated vet stands his ground in dispute over American flag

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Homer Hampton was told his flag had to move because his front yard is a common element and is not owned by Hampton himself. Homer Hampton was told his flag had to move because his front yard is a common element and is not owned by Hampton himself.
"Good Lord willing, it's going to stay up," said Hampton "As long as I'm living, I will fight this thing." "Good Lord willing, it's going to stay up," said Hampton "As long as I'm living, I will fight this thing."
Homer Hampton served more than 20 years in the Army as a Green Beret, including two tours in Vietnam where he earned the Combat Infantryman Badge and two Bronze Stars. Homer Hampton served more than 20 years in the Army as a Green Beret, including two tours in Vietnam where he earned the Combat Infantryman Badge and two Bronze Stars.

By DON DARE
6 On Your Side Consumer Investigator

SEVIERVILLE (WATE) - The deadline has passed for a retired Army sergeant to remove the American flag and flag pole from his front yard at a Sevierville condominium community.

The sergeant, Homer Hampton, has refused to obey the association's order.

"Good Lord willing, it's going to stay up," said Hampton "As long as I'm living, I will fight this thing."

The deadline for Hampton to remove the flag pole and lights from in front of his condo unit has come and gone.

The Hamptons live in Sevierville's Riverbend Gardens community.

Last month, the condo association's attorney wrote the couple saying their flag pole was erected on common property.

Common elements include front yards of individual condo units and common elements are not owned separately.

So the flag, pole, and lights were ordered to come down by Monday, Nov. 19 or be sued.

Hampton and his wife, however, continue to challenge the order.

"I don't know what the big thing is about people not wanting to see the flag flown," Homer said.

"I think we ought to be able to fly the flag where we want to fly it," his wife Shirley said. "But only the U.S. flag, which is covered under federal law."

Master Sergeant Hampton retired from the Army after 21 years of active duty. He earned the Combat Infantryman Badge and two Bronze Stars during his two tours in Vietnam with the Green Berets.

"I do not think that anybody has the right to tell me that I cannot fly the flag of the United States of America," he said.

Seven years ago, Congress passed the Freedom to Display the American Flag Act to put an end to disputes like the one we have here in this condo association.

The act prohibits a blanket ban on flying the flag, but allows restrictions on time, place, and the manner in which the flag can be displayed.

Homeowners association member Doris Stogner spoke with 6 On Your Side two weeks ago. She thinks the flag should be removed from its current location.

"According to what is in our master deeds and bylaws, yes," said Stogner. "We're not asking for him to take the flag down, we're just asking him to move it."

Hampton showed us locations where the association says he can display the flag.

"They're saying I can put it on the side of my house here with one of those brackets," he said.
   
He can also put the flag, but not a pole, in a shrubbery garden next to his front window.

For three years he displayed the flag on a pole at the side of his unit.

Hampton says the HOA said nothing about the flag then, but he removed it last June when the pole had deteriorated.

It will take an order to remove this new pole he erected in October.

"The judge might order the sheriff's department to take it down," Hampton said.

He said if they did, he would take the issue to a higher court.

Hampton obeyed orders for more than 21 years, and while he admits the pole and flag are on common ground, he is standing his ground.

The Riverbend Gardens HOA is scheduled to meet Monday night.

The Hamptons plan to attend.


If you have a consumer issue, call the 6 On Your Side Hotline at 865-633-5974 or email ddare@wate.com.

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