Charita Goshay: Dash of common sense ends brouhaha over blue-star flag
In theory, the idea of neighborhoods setting strict standards to maintain property values, makes perfect sense. In some developments, homeowners aren’t permitted to park boats and RVs in their driveways, or erect metal swing sets in their backyards.
People know and understand this when they consider purchasing a home or a lot and decide accordingly.
Last year’s brouhaha over the city’s attempt to deal with overgrown grass was triggered mostly by outsiders. It generated a ridiculous amount of commentary from as far away as Australia and including, most memorably, an attorney from Louisiana.
Sure. No upkeep problems down there.
But picturesque communities don’t get that way by accident. They happen because the people living in them embrace certain standards, be it through public ordinances or self-imposed behavior as a matter of pride.
However, any policy regarding restrictions in a neighborhood should be garnished with a dash of common sense.
The recent controversy over a blue-star flag displayed by a military family at its condominium in Perry Township, Ohio, is one such tempest that could have been avoided had some common sense just been applied from the start.
Retired Army Sgt. Richard Gano Sr. and his wife, Marlene, have vowed to keep the flag in their window in honor of their son, Richard Jr., who was injured while serving in Operation Desert Storm. Richard Jr., 55, also was twice wounded by roadside bombs in Iraq.
Because of the condominium association’s initial intransigence, what could have been resolved through a little conversation and maybe some compromise quickly became a national cause celebre ... and on the cusp of Memorial Day.
Again, restriction policies are a good-faith attempt to avoid the kind of slippery slope that results in sofas on porches, yapping dogs and cars parked on the front lawn. Yet, common-sense application of any law is always necessary when dealing with human beings.
Allowing the display of a blue-star flag? A no-brainer.
Picking a public fight with a family dedicated to military service? Brain dead.
After the reversal, the condominium company president explained that the complex’s manager didn’t understand the significance of the blue-star flag, which is considered to have legal status equal with the American flag.
The whole episode is yet another depressing example of what can happen as a result of Americans’ ignorance of their own history.
The line of people who protect our freedoms is remarkably thin. Out of a population of 300 million, fewer than 3 million Americans serve in the military. When you consider this, it makes what they do all the more remarkable.
Every blue-star flag represents a family’s sacrifice. Every now and then, we need to see a reminder that “free” really means that someone else is paying the price.
Contact Canton Repository columnist Charita Goshay at email@example.com