Man at odds with apartment complex over American flag - FOX 10 News | myfoxphoenix.com

Man at odds with apartment complex over American flag

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PHOENIX -

The American flag is a symbol of freedom and democracy. But the message is getting lost in a dispute between a valley man and his landlords, after they order him to take down his flag that's hanging in front of his apartment.

The apartment complex where he lives says it's a decoration and he can only fly his 4 by 6 flag around the holidays.

But he is an Air Force veteran, with a family of service men and women behind him. To him, the flag isn't a decoration, it's a symbol.

"It's my country."

Air Force veteran Steven Hays has been flying his 4 by 6 American flag at every apartment he's lived in.

"My youngest daughter served 2 tours in Iraq, my brother, my stepson are both medically retired from the military, my father and his 4 brothers all served," says Hays.

When he moved into the Park Ridge Apartments near Cactus and 51 eight months ago, he says he was told he could fly the flag all year round.

"I hang it from the hook, the stars are on this side."

But he says the apartment manager told him to take it down on Tuesday.

"Now it's one week after the holiday is over, you have to have it down and they're considering it a decoration which I don't agree with that."

Just a quick glance around and you see satellite dishes on front balconies. Neighbor Richard Conner has a sun shade, like this, in front of his home. It's roughly 4 by 6.

"It's about the same size same opening," says Conner.

"So essentially this could be an American flag sun shade?" we asked.

"Theoretically."

A spokesperson for the property says Hays can't fly this flag all year round, but they say he can fly an American flag. It just has to be 6 inches or smaller.

"I'll fly a 6 inch flag from my truck, but from my house, even my apartment it deserves more than 6 inches," says Hays.

Hays says he was told the apartment management considers the flag decoration.

"It's a symbol of our country and I don't think of it as a decoration," says Conner.

"I wouldn't fly my flag here if the apartment management company would, say, in the common area or main entrance, put up a flag. Put up a flag pole, I'll give them my flag."

The corporate office for the apartment complex said they'd send us a written statement but as of air time we have not received it.

Update 6/6/2013: Statement by Park Ridge Apartments

On behalf of Park Ridge Apartments we want to reiterate our intent was not to offend anyone by enforcing the clearly stated policy within our lease agreement that is understood and agreed to by all residents.

This policy states at no time should items be stored, hung or draped on railings or other portions of the balcony. In addition, residents shall not hang signs or other items on exterior of buildings.

We are hopeful the resident will be able to find an alternative option for displaying their flag.

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