LAKE WALES, Fla. (WFLA) — It was a simple request, according to several Lake Wales residents.
But the decision to fly an American flag over a Saddlebag Lake Resort club to honor local veterans who recently died became anything but simple.
The HOA that voted against the idea, citing in part American flags flying in two other public areas, now has agreed to allow the flag to be raised over the horseshoe club.
Old Glory was raised Tuesday, drawing cheers from a group of onlookers.
The HOA has yet to respond to a request for comment about the new development. A board meeting is scheduled for Thursday.
The request was initially made by veteran Bob Douskie, who said he wanted to honor fellow club member Hank Osborne. But Douskie died about six months later.
“And it was just a shock,” Jim Fuday said. “Then we lost a third [veteran.] That did it.”
The HOA allowed the pole but not the American flag.
The restriction was lifted Tuesday, the day after a second 8 on Your Side report about the dispute.
Community resident and Vietnam combat Veteran Tom Burkhart said there is no doubt in his mind the news reports impacted the board’s decision.
“Absolutely,” Burkhart said. “I think it’s the only reason. I kind of thought people would come around and think ‘OK, the proper thing to do would be to let the flag be raised.’ “
Gary Schum and other residents who were there when the flag was finally raised to honor their friends, credited another American tradition for getting it done; Compromise.
The Freedom to Fly the American flag Act does allow HOA’s to restrict flying the stars and stripes in public areas of communities.