The Southdale Gardens Condominiums in Edina was filled with protesters Saturday who are angry with the home owner’s association. Drivers were greeted with a team of people waving flags, directing them to a “Freedom to Fly the Flag” Rally. Driving a little further led to person after person bearing an American flag – protesting the Condo Association for trying to make Angie Hildebrandt, a mother of two serviceman, take her American flag down.
Red Bartholomew, one of the event organizers, says the condo association is arguing that it isn’t about the American flag itself – it’s about anything being affixed to the outside of one of the units, and that despite Hildebrandt affixing the flag inside, that the association continues to demand it be taken down. According to Bartholomew, many servicemen and women were present at this event, “We have representation from all the way back to WWII to now of Veterans who are here who feel deeply about that. Also, there are people here who have been invigorated to the degree and point of – they’ve never done anything like this before – but this has touched their heart and their mind – they’re here, to do something, because they know what it stands for and what it’s about.”
President Bush signed into law the “Freedom to Display the American Flag Act of 2005” which states, “A condominium association, cooperative association, or residential real estate management association may not adopt or enforce any policy, or enter into any agreement, that would restrict or prevent a member of the association from displaying the flag of the United States on residential property within the association”
According to Hildebrandt, she is dealing with heinous reactions from her neighbors – having had her first flag stolen, and the second cut to pieces the night before the rally.
Bartholomew expressed his anger at this, stating, “It isn’t right to treat a mother this way – it’s like what’s happening to this country? It’s kind of why we’re here – to bring awareness to what’s happening in this country – but it’s even happening in your neighborhood…and we need to protect those rights and do something about it…instead of lip service we need some foot service…”
Hildebrandt was told she can display the flag up to nine months, after which she has to take it down or move. A “Go Fund Me” page has been established to help her find a new place to live.