Residents of a public housing complex in Wrentham were understandably outraged this week when the city’s housing department informed them via flier that they were no longer allowed to display the American flag in common areas, like the facades of their own apartments.
Fortunately, the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development quickly stepped in to clarify that the flier was in error. While department policy does bar residents from placing private items in the common areas, that policy doesn’t apply to respectful and safe displays of the American flag.
Some neighborhoods or condominiums may reasonably wish to limit the size of flags that residents can display; the bomber-sized flappers some car dealerships proudly fly might be inappropriate on some suburban lawns, for example. But rules that outlaw the Stars and Stripes shouldn’t exist anywhere, especially at publicly owned housing complexes.
A handful of politicians used the bureaucratic mistake as an opportunity to grandstand, issuing red-faced public condemnations. But the residents of the housing complex responded in a more appropriate way: by quietly flooding their lawns and door frames with red, white, and blue. That’s the sort of patriotic display worth celebrating.