Samuel Adams found a letter waiting for him last week at his Sterling Heights apartment from the complex’s management, asking him to remove his American flag from his apartment’s balcony railing. He had hung the flag as decoration for the Independence Day holiday.
Immediately filled with disbelief and anger, the Greeley resident then recorded and posted a video to Facebook and Youtube expressing his frustration and reading the letter from his balcony — American flag still hanging. He said the video has been shared more than 1,500 times on Facebook.
According to Sterling Heights Community Manager Pamela Buchanan, the apartment complex, located at 2420 Reservoir Road in Greeley, does not have any problems with residents flying the American flag. However, she said residents are not allowed to use their balconies to display decorations, signs or flags, per their lease. “Sterling Heights seeks to be fair to residents by limiting displays as there could be signs, flags or decorations that may be offensive and disruptive to the community,” she stated in an email.
Adams said he didn’t expect the video to blow up like it did. He said he received a lot of support from veterans and military families, thanking him for standing up for the flag.
Adams’ grandfather served as a U.S. Army surgeon in World War I, and his father was a dentist in the U.S. Navy. Adams himself is not a veteran.
“I have never done anything like this before,” he said. “But it was the right time and it was the right moment. I wanted to be a patriotic American and give tribute to our founding fathers and our veterans, and to have (management) say the flag is inappropriate or comparable to trash is reprehensible to me.”
Senior Regional Manager Amie Robertshaw said other residents received notices for balcony violations as well.
“We really try hard to keep a nice, neat community and are diligent about our efforts to keep uniformity in appearance in the areas visible to others,” she stated in an email.
Robertshaw also said Adams and other Sterling Heights residents are allowed to display flags on their balconies for the Independence Day holiday. But after July 4, residents will be asked to move those flags inside their private rented space to adhere to the complex’s policies of fairness and consistency.
However, Adams said he plans to keep flying his flag after that date, even if it leads to an eviction. He said he believes it is against his freedom of speech to have to take down the flag.
“I thought this was just going to be a whisper but it has avalanched,” he said. “I’m the kind of guy that when I see a man or woman in a uniform, I go up to them and say, ‘thank you for your service.’ I gladly accept the responsibility given to me of standing up for the veterans and families that have reached out to me.”
Editor's Note: Here’s a link to a story on Fox 59, dated yesterday, which contains the wording of the letter sent to the resident, copied below. Man defies apartment management, refuses to remove American flag even if it leads to eviction
Please be advised that it has come to management’s attention that you have an American flag on the balcony/patio area. Your signed Community Policies states, ‘The use of balconies and patios for the purpose of storage and/or laundry drying is prohibited. Breezeways are not to be used as a patio or storage. Please do not clutter with personal belongings. Balconies and patios must be maintained in a neat, clean and attractive condition. Outdoor and/or patio furniture is welcomed on your patio or balcony only. Gasoline and other hazardous materials are not to be stored in your apartment or storage area. Retain from having dead plants, boxes or garbage on balcony/patios at any time.’ We appreciate your prompt attention and cooperation in this matter. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact myself or the office. Thank you.
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