Posted: February 20, 2003
won't give up on flying flag in West Boynton development
By Patty Pensa
WEST BOYNTON - A smile of satisfaction
spread across Will Gallien's face Wednesday as he raised a crisp American
flag behind his Mizner Falls home.
"That's what I wanted," said Gallien, 62,
admiring his handiwork.
For Gallien, the flag is an essential
finishing touch for his new home west of Boynton Beach. With war looming
with Iraq, he said, now is the time for Americans to fly their flags proudly.
"I was home the other day thinking, `This
is America and no one's going to tell me I can't put up an American flag,'"
The management company running the active-adult
community twice denied Gallien's request for the 25-foot flagpole. Homeowners
association rules allow residents to display flags in flag holders attached
to their homes, said sales director Mike Setaro. Poles are not allowed.
|Will Gallien shows
his American flag, which he hoisted for the first time Wednesday on his
newly installed flag pole in violation of community rules.
Gallien decided to have the pole installed
anyway, and precedent may be in his favor.
Similiar sentiment has prompted a battle
of more than three years between a former Marine and his homeowners association
in Jupiter. Resident George Andres is fighting about $30,000 in fines for
refusing to remove a 12-foot flagpole from his yard.
The state Legislature, with backing from
Gov. Jeb Bush, stepped in last year on Andres' behalf. It passed a law
to allow homeowners to display "one portable, removable United States flag
in a respectful manner."
Homeowners association rules do not apply,
according to the law. But Andres' association is appealing the case because
the law allowed his flagpole retroactively.
Boca Raton attorney Barry Silver, who represents
Andres, said the Mizner Falls management company should not have denied
Gallien's request to fly his flag. He said the law was intended to include
flagpoles, though it does not specifically refer to them.
"There's no reason why they should be enforcing
it," Silver said.
Setaro said he didn't think the new state
law applied to Gallien. Even so, the management company will not impose
the $100-a-day fine for violating the community's rule.
Instead, he said, the issue will go to
a new ad-hoc committee of residents for a decision next week.
"The management company will go by the
book until the HOA takes over," Setaro said. "Whatever they do, they are
Gallien's next-door neighbor, Joan Meyer,
was surprised when permission for the flagpole was denied. Once the residents
take over the homeowners association, she said, she would like to see a
flag at the community's entrance.
"We have American soldiers, men and women,
dying for that flag," she said. "I think it should be flown."
Since Gallien was a teen, he said, he has
had a burning desire to fight for America. Gallien sneaked into the Army
at age 15. He finished basic training at Fort Dix, N.J., and was sent to
Missouri as a combat engineer in the mid-1950s.
"I always had a longing to pay back for
my freedom," he said.
A year later, Gallien was discharged after
Army officials found out he was underage, and he was never allowed back
But Gallien grew fond of the flag. For
15 years, a flag has been stapled to the front of his home in Marblehead,
At his summer home in Denmark, Maine, a
flag has flown 110 feet above the ground, from a pine tree, for 10 years.
His wife's flower shop in Salem, Mass.,
has flown a 12-by-18-foot flag from a 75-foot pole near the street. City
officials there denied Gallien a permit seven years ago, but Gallien ignored
The letter from Phoenix Management, the
Mizner Falls management company, didn't explain the decision, Gallien said.
"They have no reason for denying it," he