Jen Elliot was an Army specialist serving her country in Afghanistan. She was a trained .50 caliber gunner and a heavy-wheeled vehicle operator. While on duty, an explosion threw her into a wall, knocking her unconscious for several minutes. The impact was strong enough to cause a traumatic brain injury. She suffers today from a PVI (pressure volume index) along post-traumatic stress disorder.
Elliot’s unit is still serving in Afghanistan. She says that over the last three months, six members of her unit have been killed.
As wounded war veteran, Elliot is a proud American and wants to show her patriotism and her loyalty to her unit still fighting on foreign land by flying her American flag from the balcony of her apartment. Apartment management doesn’t seem to share her same sense of patriotism as they issued her a notice to remove her flag.
Elliot lives in the Willow Creek Apartments in Citrus Heights, California, a few miles northeast of the state capital of Sacramento. Her lease does state that they are not allowed to fly flags or have plants or wind chimes outside their apartment. Further down in the lease, it does say that one can fly the American flag as long as it complies with state law and proper flag etiquette.
When she received the notice, Elliot said:
“I was very upset and very offended by it,” she said. “We live in America. Why shouldn’t we fly our flag proudly?”
“I’ve lost six people in the past three months, and I know they are going through a tough time. I fly that for them.”
The apartment management is now willing to meet with Elliot face-to-face to work something out, but only after she took her issue to the media. Their hand was forced because of the negative publicity they were receiving.
People are allowed to trample, burn, urinate and wear the flag, all against proper flag etiquette, because of their First Amendment rights to free speech. Therefore, I don’t believe that anyone should be barred by any landlord, employer or anyone from legally flying or displaying the American flag. Millions of Americans have died or been injured defending that flag and securing our freedoms. Any form of restriction from the legal display of the symbol of our nation should not be tolerated.