Lawyer: HOA can't prohibit WWII vet from flying flag

Lawyer: HOA can't prohibit WWII vet from flying flag

Posted: Updated:
MCDONOUGH, Ga. -

There may be a legal solution to a World War II veteran's battle to fly an American flag on his property.

On Wednesday, FOX 5's Morse Diggs reported on John Helton, a 25-year Air Force veteran who served in three wars, who says his homeowners association in McDonough threatened to issue daily fines if he violated a rule that restricted flying the flag. A covenant at The Villages at Spring Creek retirement community restricts how often the flag can be displayed.

Since the story aired, Helton said he's been overwhelmed by people expressing support.

"I appreciate and I thank every one of them," Helton said.

John's wife, Louise, said that her husband deserves the right to display the flag.

"There's no excuse for this. My husband suffered enough and fought enough and we will stand together under that flag," Louise Helton said. "He fought for the flag and we'll die for the flag."

Courtney Lytle, a local lawyer, said that Helton can legally fly the Stars and Stripes.

"The Federal Freedom to Display the Flag Act of 2005 specifically states that a homeowners association is not allowed to forbid homeowners from displaying the flag," said Lytle. "An HOA can restrict the display in how it's done."

Some of Helton's neighbors defiantly put out their flags on Thursday in support of the veteran.

"Many people have not held the hand of a dying soldier or sailor. I was a sailor. I have seen many man die for this flag, and I think every American ought to have the opportunity to fly that flag – in the proper way – any time they want to," said neighbor Joe Certain.

Lytle said that she's willing to talk to the HOA about the act that allows the flag to be displayed.

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