Where Have Our Heroes Gone?

medal of honor

Remember the guy who wouldn’t take

the flag pole down on his Virginia

property a while back?

You might remember the news story several

months ago about a crotchety old man in

Virginia who defied his local Homeowners

Association, and refused to take down the

flag pole on his property along with the large

American flag he flew on it.

Now we learn who that old man was.

On June 15, 1919, Van T. Barfoot was born in

Edinburg , Texas . That probably didn’t make

news back then. But twenty-five years later, on May 23, 1944,

near Carano , Italy , that same Van T. Barfoot,

who had in 1940 enlisted in the U.S. Army, set

out alone to flank German machine gun

positions from which gunfire was raining

down on his fellow soldiers.

His advance took him through a minefield but

having done so, he proceeded to single-handedly

take out three enemy machine gun positions,

returning with 17 prisoners of war.

And if that weren’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 , a well

deserved Congressional Medal of Honor.

What did make news…Was his 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 it was OK to fly a flag on a house-mounted

bracket, but, for decorum, items such as

Barfoot’s 21-foot flagpole were “unsuitable”.

Van Barfoot had been denied a permit for

the pole, but erected it anyway and was facing

court action unless he agreed to take it down.

Then the HOA story made national TV,

and the Neighborhood Association rethought

its position and agreed to indulge this

aging hero who dwelt among them.

“In the time I have left”, he said to the

Associated Press, “I plan to continue

to fly the American flag without interference.”

As well he should. And if any of his neighbors had taken a notion to

contest him further, they might have done well to

read his Medal of Honor citation first. Seems it

indicates Mr. Van Barfoot wasn’t particularly

good at backing down.

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