Oshkosh Couple Threatened with Eviction for Flying American Flag
The Prices' flag as originally hung in their window.
OSHKOSH – Old Glory won’t be flying in the window of an Iraq War veteran’s apartment anymore. Charlie Price and his wife Dawn were forced to remove the American flag from their window or be evicted from their apartment complex.
“It’s ridiculous,” Dawn said. “I couldn’t believe that in America someone would be told that they can’t fly the American flag.”
The Prices had been displaying the flag in their dining room window of their unit in the Brookside Apartments since November, but Midwest Realty Management—the owner of the building—notified them Tuesday that it violates company policy.
If they did not remove it completely by Saturday or make sure it wasn’t visible from outside, they would be evicted. Dawn begrudgingly compromised with her apartment manager and placed a cloth between her flag and the window so that it wasn’t visible from outside her unit.
“We just don’t allow people to stick things in their window,” Midwest Realty Management president Rodney Oschleger explained. “Instead of drapes or blinds, for example, we don’t allow them to put sheets. We don’t allow them to put flags or banners or religious or political things.”
Oschleger insisted that the company’s objections are aesthetic and have nothing to do with the message a particular flag or banner might depict.
“This is a window situation,” he added. “If they wanted to put a flag on their balcony we would have no problem with that.”
The Prices’ flag, though, was a problem--something Dawn never thought she would hear.
“We’re talking about the American flag, we’re talking about what this country was founded on,” she said. “I believe that people have the freedom of speech that my husband fought for and they can portray that all they want, but we are in America right now and I think we should be able to hang the flag with dignity and with pride.”
Under the Freedom to Display the American Flag Act of 2005, Congress prohibited real estate management organizations (such as condominium associations) from restricting homeowners from displaying the American flag on their property. The law does not extend to renters like the Prices, however, and Dawn wants that to change.
“The irony is that I’m not a political person at all,” she laughed. “I just want my husband to be able to look at his flag and be proud of his country and his service to it.”
Oschleger called “ridiculous” any suggestion that his company’s policy was somehow unpatriotic.
“If you drove by the property you would see four huge American flags flying throughout the complex! We‘ve got them at the rental office, at the clubhouse, at the Brookside North area, and then another one just down the street! Four American flags and we‘re unpatriotic?”
Not unpatriotic, Dawn insisted, just misguided.
“I feel it’s a sad day this country has come to where you’re going to be telling an American that they can’t be flying the flag for others to see.”