One ruling has caused an outpouring of support at Garden Lane. After receiving a notice from the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development that stated that they could not display flags outside their apartments due to complains from one tenant, the other residents have responded by hanging their own flags from the polls built in to the apartment buildings.
At 10:30 a.m., the office of Governor Deval Patrick issued a statement that the ruling was a mistake and that under their policy, the display of the American flag is allowed on public housing property.
In response to the initial outrage, State Representative Dan Winslow paid a visit to Garden Lane to give flags to the residents. The flags were so popular that many were taking an extra flag or two for their neighbors who were not home.
“I’m glad that they’ve admitted their mistake, I don’t think it goes far enough,” Winslow told reporters while handing out flags. “I think that whoever made this decision at the state level is by definition grossly incompetent and we oughta fire that person and replace them with an unemployed veteran who I guarantee you would not make this mistake.”
The story has drawn support from beyond Wrentham. An Attleboro resident by the name of Jeff Runey drove around the apartments in his Jeep with an America flag waving at the top of a pipe.
One of the people who happily received a new flag was Margie Killion who lived near the person who’s flag initially provoked the complaint. With a son in the armed services, she was pleased when her son called her to say that the decision had been reversed.
“Livid. Of course I was very angry. This is disgusting that they’d do something like this,” Killion said.
Resident Mary Hayes was angered over the fact that this would happen over one person complaining.
“I was outraged. I wasn’t too surprised because our freedoms are being threatened from all different sources. To listen to one person and then because of one complaint and then saying that we can’t have flags around, it was just outrageous,” Hayes said.
John O’Brien who is a veteran of the Air Force, took a flag from Winslow and like everyone else who the representative talked to today, could not believe that someone would decide that a flag could not be flown outside.
“I was sick to my stomach. There are guys who died for that flag. That was an absurd decision that someone in Boston made,” O’Brien said.
After today, the apartments of Garden Lane will probably have a little more red, white, and blue on the outside. While one person may not think that the flag should be hung outside, the vast majority beg to differ and have no issue showing that they disagree.
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