You might remember a news story
several months ago about a crotchety Old man who defied his
homeowners association and refused to take down The flagpole on
his property and the large flag that flew on it. Now you can
find out who, exactly, that old man was.
In June 15, 1919, Van T.
Barfoot was born in Edinburg -- probably didn't make much news
Twenty-five years later, on May
23, 1944, near Carano, Italy, Van T. Barfoot, who had enlisted
in the US Army in 1940, set out to Flank German machine gun
positions from which fire was coming Down on his fellow
soldiers. He advanced through a minefield, Took out three enemy
machine gun positions and returned 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 the machine gun positions.
That probably didn't make much
news either, given the scope of the War, but it did earn Van T.
Barfoot, who retired as a colonel after also serving in Korea
and Vietnam, a Congressional Medal of Honor.
What did make news was a
neighborhood association's quibble with how this 90-year-old
veteran chose to fly the American flag outside his suburban
Virginia home, against their wishes. Seems the rules said a flag
could be flown on a house-mounted bracket, but, for decorum,
items such as Barfoot's 21-foot flagpole were unsuitable to
They denied him a permit for
the pole, but he erected it anyway and soon faced court action
because he refused to take it down. Since the story made
national TV, the neighborhood association has rethought its
position and agreed to indulge this old war hero who dwells
"In the time I have left I plan
to continue to fly the American flag without interference,"
Barfoot told The Associated Press. As well he should! And if any
of his neighbors still takes a notion to contest him, they might
want to read his Medal of Honor citation. It indicates he's not
real good at backing down from tyrants.
Van T. Barfoot's Medal of Honor
This 1944 Medal of Honor
citation, listed with the National Medal of Honor Society, is
for Second Lieutenant Van T. Barfoot, 157th Infantry, 45th
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