The wife of a Camp Pendleton Marine received a letter from her homeowners association telling her to remove her American flag.
Heather Valenti told San Diego’s local ABC affiliate, 10 News, how it made her feel.
“They are hurting people like me and my husband,” said Heather Valenti.
She said the letter from her HOA that demanded she take the flag down “sounded pretty threatening.”
According to the letter, Valenti’s flag violated the rules for common areas.
Valenti said the small flag had a big meaning to her and her family. It is a flag that honors her husband, who is deployed, and her Marine grandfather, who recently died.
“I just watched a flag being folded at my grandfather’s funeral and handed to my grandmother by the Marines. It hits home,” Valenti told 10News.
Valenti said she believes the country is in crisis. Scenes of flags being burned hurt her.
“Unfortunately, we live in a country where people are burning flags, disrespecting flags,” she said.
Valenti was not about to let this battle over her flag go, even though her husband did not want to make a fuss.
“He’s over there serving our country and his response was just, ‘Whatever, just take it down. We’ll get an American flag doormat instead.’ I said no,” said Valenti.
The good news is that when a local group — San Diegans for Secure Borders — heard about Heather’s situation, they took action to defend her right to display her flag.
The group’s leader, Jeff Schwilk, cited the Freedom to Display the American Flag Act of 2005, which he says guarantees that “HOAs cannot keep home owners from (reasonably) displaying American flags outside their homes and condos.
“We also promised the HOA a huge flag rally/protest outside their condo complex — with big media coverage—if they hassle her or anyone else that lives there ever again about their American flags”.
Heather said she’d felt targeted by the HOA, since several of her neighbors had flags similarly displayed.
Moving the flag less than a foot seemed to satisfy whatever mysterious criteria were used to justify the HOA’s objection to her flag in the first place.