Over A Hundred Come Out To Support Vet In Fight To Fly US Flag - FOX 29 News Philadelphia | WTXF-TV

Over A Hundred Come Out To Support Vet In Fight To Fly US Flag

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Photo Courtesy Of Fox 5 Atlanta Photo Courtesy Of Fox 5 Atlanta
Photo Courtesy Of Fox 5 Atlanta Photo Courtesy Of Fox 5 Atlanta

There was a moving show of patriotism at the Helton's McDonough home in mid-August, as one man's fight to display an American flag sparked a massive rally for military veteran John Helton. The support ultimately won this brave veteran the right to display the symbol that he fought for in World War II.

"And this is what it is all about: the American flag and our freedom," said one woman who attended the rally.

"Thank you so much. I love you," Helton told her.

"I love you too," she replied.

Moved by Helton's plight, the American Legion riders reached out to the couple.

"We're not here to protest. We are here to support not just his rights but our rights as well. The American flag is important to us as veterans and our country," says Tom Beatty, an American Legion rider.

Over a hundred military vets and their families, many proudly carrying old glory in a show of support, gathered at the Helton's home on Saturday to salute the war veteran embroiled in a fierce battle with his Homeowner's Association over the right to display the American flag.

The Heltons' daughter joined her parents in the battle.

"My dad is 91 going on 92, was in the Air Force ... fought for this country and just wants to fly a standard flag on his house, nothing out of the ordinary," she says.

The controversy has garnered national attention, fueled by social media. The HOA has threatened to fine the Heltons if they display the flag, but the family insists federal law supersedes the local covenants.

John Helton, who served in three wars, lives with his wife in a retirement community with covenants. The HOA only allows residents to fly the flag for a few days in the year, such as July 4. He wants to fly the stars and stripes every day.

Helton and his wife say they didn't see the clause regarding the flag when they signed for the property last October.

They said that four HOA board members came to his door and ordered him to take the flag down or face a fine of up to $25 a day.

"He was proud to serve. He just cried a bucket of tears when he found out he could not fly the flag of freedom. It is a piece of cloth, but it stands for our freedom," said Louise Helton, John wife.

"There is a law that says everyone has the right to fly the American flag. And according to the law, the homeowners association can give limitations about how they fly it, but not the fact that they can fly it; they are allowed to fly it," says Helton's daughter.

That law is the Freedom to Fly the American Flag Act of 2005. It permits homeowners to display the American flag on residential property, even though a community may have restrictive covenants prohibiting the display.

"They've met with the homeowner's association twice, but they absolutely will not listen to them. They will not consider making a change," says Helton's daughter.

In the meantime, several of the Helton's neighbors are weighing in on the flag flap, flying American flags and banners in support of Mister Helton. And just as he did during his years of service to his country, Helton stands firm in defense of the American flag.

"I feel good. I feel like I got a lot of supporters and I intend to carry on" Helton reaffirms. "There is absolutely no reason why a person couldn't fly an American flag outside his house every day."

The HOA called an emergency meeting that following week, and residents voted overwhelmingly to allow flags to be flown every day of the year.

"Staying in the military all my life, I know what a flag is and I know what it means, and I'm just glad we'll be able to fly our flag every day like we want to," Helton said.

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