PERRY TWP. — Clifford Jackson Sr. has been proudly flying an American flag outside his apartment for about a year and a half.
That ended abruptly on Thursday when White Oaks Apartment managers told him he must take it down. The order angered Jackson, who reluctantly complied — for now.
"I have a right to fly an American flag," he told The Independent, explaining that he had anchored a flag-holder in the ground outside his apartment window. "Don't touch my flag."
The 66-year old Jackson lives in a first-floor unit of a complex in the 2800 block of Lincoln Way E. He said he was told to remove the flag because of landscaping work being done to the front of the apartments. Written notice was posted for all occupants Thursday afternoon stating outside decor such as lights, potted plants and ornaments, also are not permitted, "in an effort to maintain a uniform appearance."
The note to residents was posted by managers Thursday on all entryways to both buildings in the complex. "Please be advised," it stated, "that we are doing significant landscaping work on the fronts of the buildings with fresh foliage and mulch. ... You are not permitted to place any personal items on the exterior of the buildings. All personal items are to be stored inside your apartment."
Jackson said he was handed the written notice by a manager Thursday afternoon while standing outside his building. That morning, he said, he was verbally told to remove the flag, which was posted in the newly landscaped area in the front of his unit.
Attempts Thursday by The Independent to reach White Oaks management — at the property and by phone — were not successful. The complex is owned by TMD Inc., according to Stark County Auditor's records.
Jackson, a retired Aultman Hospital construction engineer and "avid supporter of the military," said he's unsure what he'll do about the flag. He doesn't want to be evicted from his home of three years, he said, which is why he complied. He's thinking about flying the flag sporadically during the day or on weekends, but also might hang it from an interior first-floor window.
"What can an American flag do to hurt a building?," asked Jackson.