A US flag, a petty perspective, and aesthetics.

I felt thunderous  disbelief as I read a recent story in the news. And no, I’m not talking about Trump or white supremacists for a change. I can only call it an unnecessary assault on a Navy Commander.

A Shocking Story of a US Flag and a Florida Neighborhood

When you’ve used your God-given talents to rise to the rank of commander, I think you’ve earned the right to have the US flag on your mailbox, for crying out loud. Actually, every citizen in this country should be able to show their patriotism by displaying the flag of the land they love.

The story in Northwest Florida Daily News (8-14-17) of 82-year-old retired Navy Commander John Ackert made my blood boil and my temple pulse. Ackert is being asked by his Tallahassee subdivision to remove the covering for his mailbox which features a US flag because it didn’t confous flag photorm to the standards set by the Southwood Residential Community Association.


Previously, they’d requested he remove stickers from his front door window showing support of the  Navy, the Sheriff’s office, and Special Olympics.


All in the name of aesthetic value.

If you missed the story, Ackert purchased a vinyl mailbox covering for his mailbox. It has been there since 2013. He replaces it whenever the sun bakes out its colors. Apparently, someone has decided it suddenly violates his neighborhood community covenant.

Someone reports that a little lady on her golf cart with nothing better to do, drives around  Southwood checking properties in the neighborhood, to make sure all homes conform to someone’s idea of beauty.

fLag mailbox

Photo by L Hollis Photography

One day when Ackert opened that flag-draped mailbox of his, he found a letter that caused quite a shock.  His homeowner’s association, the Southwood Residential Community Association, had written him to say the flag on his mailbox “devalues the aesthetic value of the homes in the neighborhood.” 

They plan to fine him if he doesn’t comply.

Aesthetics means dealing with the beautiful or “pleasing in appearance.”


Here’s what’s beautiful.

It’s beautiful to live in a community like mine in Destin, FL that values its patriots and retired military personnel. They get saluted here. We highly value and respect all military, active and inactive here. And in plenty of other communities throughout the U.S.  My father-in-law was a Navy man.

A Naval Commander is a senior officer who commands a ship or SEAL team. Their career track is toward flag positions. The flag is central to their identity. As a country, we owe a great deal to them.

Here’s what devalues a neighborhood.

us flag mailbox photo

I’ll tell you what devalues the aesthetics of a neighborhood: small-minded people telling a retired Navy commander, having given 30 years of his life to defend his neighborhood and his country, that he cannot post a flag on his mailbox.

John Ackert“This is a very, very petty thing,” Ackert was quoted as saying in USA Today.

If he lived here, I’d point out that flag-covered mailbox to everyone who visits me. I’d be proud that a Naval Commander chose to live within our neighborhood. I wouldn’t want to live in his.



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