BANGOR, Maine - After telling a Vietnam veteran that he had to remove a U.S. flag flying from his porch, the Bangor Housing Authority has offered to put up a flagpole at the subsidized apartment complex it oversees.
That is, if the man is willing to take responsibility for raising the flag in the morning and taking it down in the evening, as U.S. flag etiquette requires.
Arthur Brazeau, 61, a Bangor Troop Greeter, said he likes the idea of a community flagpole, but is worried his health might prevent him from maintaining a daily routine.
“I would be glad to do that but I’ d like to have a light on the flag, in case I’ m not there,” he said. “I did talk to a couple of people who said they’ d help, but I can’ t depend on anybody else. I’ m in a Catch-22.”
By placing a light on the flagpole and displaying an all-weather flag, it could be displayed 24 hours a day, Brazeau said.
The decorated U.S. Army veteran, who served 12 years in the 25th Infantry Division and earned a Purple Heart and Bronze Star during Vietnam, was told late last week to remove his flag and other smaller flags, which he had displayed for months, or face a $50 minimum charge for their removal by housing authority staff.
The authority administers public housing programs in the city, including the Autumn Park West apartment complex on Union Street where Brazeau lives.
The display at Brazeau’ s apartment included a U.S. flag and three small flags, representing the U.S. Army, POWs-MIAs and Maine, which were hanging from his porch on a handmade wooden bracket attached to the railing.
Housing authority rules prohibit the attachment of any flags on the property.
On Monday, he tied a large U.S. flag to his porch railing, but was informed in a July 23 letter from Jeff Gordon, the housing authority’ s project manager, that it needed to be removed because it “hangs down into the 1st floor units’ deck area.” So on Friday he replaced the large flag with a 2-foot-by-3-foot version of Old Glory.
“We would like to install a community flag pole,” the housing authority letter added. “We would put it in front of your unit, across the driveway, in the grass. We would be more than happy to have you fly your flag on it.”
The housing authority has installed other community flagpoles over the years, but has ended up removing them.
“The problem has always been that no one at the complex will take the responsibility of taking care of it,” the letter stated.
Gordon’ s letter also said Brazeau could use a free-standing pole on his deck to display an American flag, which he is considering.