If you live in the gated community of Grand Haven in Palm Coast, Fla., you can fly just about any flag you want outside your residence.
Old Glory? Of course. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines? No problem. POW-MIA? Sure. Your fave sports team? No one minds a bit.
But a flag for the Wounded Warrior Project? You’re looking at $1,000 fine if you don’t take it down after 10 days. And if you don’t pay the fine in the allotted time, say hello to a lien on your house.
That’s what’s befallen Thomas Bagnoli, a 13-year resident of the community — but he’s not budging.
“They can do whatever they want. I’m doing what I want,” he told WJXT-TV in Jacksonville. “I feel strongly about this.”
It’s unclear why Bagnoli’s Wounded Warrior flag is against the association’s rules. TheBlaze contacted the Grand Haven Master Association on Wednesday for answers, but the message wasn’t immediately returned.
The Wounded Warrior Project aims to “raise awareness and enlist the public’s aid for the needs of injured service members…help injured service members aid and assist each other…provide unique, direct programs and services to meet the needs of injured service members.”
“I wanted to stand up for something, which I thought was important, not only to me, but all these kids, men and women fighting over there,” Bagnoli told WFTV-TV in Orlando.
Bagnoli’s Wounded Warrior flag has been aloft in his backyard for about a year, hanging underneath an American flag, and he’s incensed over the disparity.
“I get angry. I really do. I don’t understand why,” he told WJXT. “They say, ‘Sorry, you have to take it down.’ I refuse to.”
“They’re the real heroes and all of the armed forces,” Bagnoli said of wounded warriors. “This flag should be a part of the armed forces heroes. They make that American flag fly.”
Bagnoli said he’s unaware of anyone offended by the flag.
In fact, he’s received a fair share of encouragement, including one person who offered to pay the $1,000 fine on his behalf as long as he kept the flag flying, WFTV noted.
“I’ve gotten notices from people saying keep up the good work, don’t back down and stuff like that,” he told WFTV. “And I won’t. I feel it’s necessary.”
In the meantime, Bagnoli won’t take the flag down until the war in Afghanistan ends — and if the association wants to put a lien on his house, he told WFTV it can have the money whenever he decides to sell.