A Marine Corps veteran in Rosenberg, Texas says he and his wife are angry after they were told they couldn't fly their American and Marine Corps flags outside their home.
The Home Owners Association told the couple who moved to the Kingdom Heights subdivision two months ago that they must take down two flags they installed in front of their home.
Corporal Michael Pereira said, "If they're going to take them down, it's going to be a fight to take them down, and no one fights harder than a veteran combat Marine." Pereira added he would have died for the American and Marine Corps flags proudly displayed in his driveway.
"They represent this country. They represent a brotherhood I was a part of," he said of the flags. Pereira says the seven years he spent in the Marine Corps changed his life.
He was in the Marines from 2002-2009 and served three tours in Iraq but to this day he hasn't forgotten his brothers and sisters service and everything he went through.
Pereira says he follows the flag rules every day, when the sun is down he doesn't fly them since he doesn't have a light but he wasn't expecting a problem with the HOA.
"I'm guessing somebody didn't like it or someone reported it or something because I got a call from the property manager who works for the Home Owners Association asking me to take them down," he said.
The couple shared their story on Facebook in their neighborhood page Tuesday night and within an hour they had over 100 comments in support of Pereira.
"It doesn't bother me. I think it's kind of silly to have someone take down their flags – especially if he fought for the country," a neighbor said of the situation.
"I asked her if they can make an exemption, and she said I'd have to fill out a construction modification request and send it to the HOA," Pereira explained.
It turns out the reason they were asked to remove the flags doesn't have anything to do with the flags themselves, rather the flag poles are the issue.
An attorney for the HOA named Terry Sears explained the violation the Pereiras committed when they erected the flagpoles without a permit.
"The problem is that one of the poles is in a utility easement, both poles are within the 25-foot building setback line and the restrictions (and Texas Property Code) only allow for the installation of one flagpole," Sears said.
The HOA also issued a full public statement.
"We are certainly not opposed to the flying of an American flag or Marine Corps flag outside one’s home, but we do request that any homeowner wanting to install a flagpole (or any structure outside of one’s home) to follow the rules and applicable law.
"In this particular case, the homeowner installed two 20-foot flagpoles on both sides of his driveway
(one on each side) without first submitting the plans or seeking approval. The problem is that one
of the poles is in a utility easement, both poles are within the 25-foot building setback line and the
restrictions (and Texas Property Code) only allow for the installation of one flagpole.
"We have already reached out to the veteran to let him know that the issue is not the flags and are awaiting a response. We are certainly willing to continue to work with this veteran in relocating one of his poles and would be remiss if we did not take this opportunity to thank him for his personal
sacrifice and service to our country."
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