J. D. Heyes
November 10, 2011
You might have thought the issue of free speech was settled long ago after the Revolutionary War – but that is wrong. These days, speech must be “politically correct” in order to be free, and that standard applies to our nation’s military veterans as well, those men and women who put their lives on the line in order to protect the very right they are often denied.
A 70-year-old man who served in the U.S. Navy in the 1960sfaces a tough choice: adhering to his tradition of flying the American flag on special military occasions or being evictedfrom his subsidized housing complex.
According to reports, the rules say residents aren’t allowed to hang anything on the exterior of the complex. Our Navy vet, Oregon resident Edward Zivica, broke those rules recently when he hung an American flag Oct. 27, in honor of Navy Day. Zivica, a veteran of the Submarine Service (1960-1967), said the flag was one sent to him by the Army after his father was killed in action during World War II.
Not having many options for housing, Zivica says he’ll comply with the complex’s order to cease and desist hanging flags, but it’s a decision he says will trouble him in the days ahead because he won’t be able to honor America’s military heroes on Veteran’s Day Nov. 11.
“It’s one of the biggest days of the year for us. I guess we’ll see what happens,” Zivica told local media.
Management put up a cheap, plastic “cheesy-looking” flagpole in response to residents requests, but Zivica says it’s inadequate because it doesn’t have a lanyard to raise and lower the flag to half-mast, and the small flag atop the pole has begun to weather and fade already.
Managers of the complex say the rules are in place to keep people from putting up banners and other eyesores. Fair enough, but it’s a shame this situation lacks any semblance of common sense. It would be one thing to hoist spray-painted banners or political slogans, but when veterans are prevented for one day from hanging a symbol they cherish above all else – the American flag – more than just free speech suffers.
This article was posted: Thursday, November 10, 2011 at 3:34 am