Van T. Barfoot
Second Lieutenant, US Army
A Good Man to Remember
Van T. Barfoot Died…
Remember the guy who wouldn’t take the flagpole down on his Virginia property? You might remember the news story several months ago about a crotchety old man in Virginia who defied his local Homeowners Association in refusing to remove the flag pole and large American flag he flew.
Now we learn that old man’s identity
On June 15, 1919, Van T. Barfoot was born in Edinburg, Texas. That probably didn’t make the news back then. Twenty-five years later, however, he would. On May 23, 1944 near Carano, Italy, that same Barfoot, who enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1940, set out alone to flank German machine-gun positions and their gunfire raining down on fellow soldiers. Although his advance took him through a minefield, he proceeded to single-handedly take out three enemy machine-gun positions and return with 17 prisoners of war.
If that wasn’t enough for a day’s work,
he later took on and destroyed three German tanks
sent to retake their machine gun positions.
That probably didn’t make much news either,
given the scope of the war, but did earn Van T. Barfoot, later
a retired Colonel who also served 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 indicated it was acceptable
to fly a flag on a house-mounted bracket, but, for decorum,
items such as Barfoot’s 21-foot flagpole were “unsuitable.”
Van Barfoot was denied a permit for the pole
but chose to erect it anyway and faced court action,
unless he agreed to take it down.
Then the HOA story made national TV
and the Neighborhood Association rethought its position,
agreeing 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.
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.
God Bless the Enduring Allegiance of our Veterans
for their Country and its Flag
In Gratitude for their Service