Veteran, Neighbors Fight Apartment Complex Over Flag Display

Vietnam veteran Steven Long was told he could not display his American flag outside his apartment. The complex community came together to change that.

Posted: Nov. 10, 2017 1:23 PM
Updated: Nov. 13, 2017 9:17 AM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) If you drive around the Pickett Place Apartments in St. Joseph, you will see dozens of American flags displayed outside of the majority of the apartments.

But it hasn't always been that way.

Steven Long moved into the complex four years ago, back when there were no pole holders available for him to display his American flag.

"I asked if I could hang a flag here and they said, 'Well we don't want anything hung off of our buildings,'" Long said.

Long refused to take that for an answer. As a Vietnam war veteran, he said displaying the flag is important to him.

"To me it's a tribute. All the way from the civil war all the way up to the conflict we're in now. People giving up their lives so we can have the freedom to fly our flag," he said.

Over the years Long has become close with many neighbors, and they decided to join him on his fight to be allowed to hang his flag.

"We look out for each other. That's what he did for us when he did his service," said neighbor Larry Huber.

Long said the on-site management even joined in. Together, the Pickett Place Apartments community was able to change corporate's mind to allow Long to hang his flag up outside of his home.

In September the property maintenence crew installed flag holders so that Long could display his flag.

Long said what happened next left him speechless. One by one, neighbors started using those flag holders to put up American flags as a nod to Long for his service, as well as to their own family and friends who have served.

Long even assisted in handing out flags and green lightbulbs to honor military.

"Once [Long] had his up, we looked around and said the rest of us would like to have them too and show support," Huber said. "My father was a veteran and we've got other veterans out here, too."

Thirty out of 36 units at Pickett Place now have an American Flag in front of their door and a green light bulb on their front porch.

"It's beautiful. It shows the pride we have in our country," Long said of the flags. "I'm proud."

Long said every one who lives in one of those 30 apartments has some family military tie. 

"There's some people who won't put them up because of beliefs, and I respect that," Long said.

Long served as a Corpseman in the Navy during the Vietnam War. He was born in Springfield, Missouri.

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