Remember the Guy that Wouldn’t take the Flag Down?

You may have seen this on the news a while back.  Here is an update.
Head east from Carthage on Mississippi 16 toward Philadelphia . After a few
miles a sign says you’re in Edinburg . It s a good thing the sign’s there, because
there’s no other way to tell.



On June 15, 1919, Van T. Barfoot was born in Edinburg — probably didn’t
make much news back then.

Twenty-five years later, on May 23, 1944, near Carano , Italy , Van T. Barfoot,
who had enlisted in the Army in 1940, set out to flank German
machine gun
from which fire was coming down on his fellow soldiers. He advanced
through a minefield, took out three enemy machine gun positions and returned
with 17 prisoners of war.
Van T. Barfoot

If that wasn’t enough for a day’s work, he later took on and destroyed three
German tanks sent to retake the machine gun positions.

That probably didn’t make much news either, given the scope of the war, but it
did earn Van T. Barfoot, who retired as a colonel after also serving in Korea and
Vietnam , a Congressional Medal of Honor.


What did make news was a neighborhood association’s quibble with
how the 90-year-old veteran chose to fly the American flag outside his suburban
Virginia home. Seems the rules said a flag could be flown on a house-mounted
bracket, but,  for decorum, items such as Barfoot’s 21-foot flagpole were

He had been denied a permit for the pole, erected it anyway and was facing court
action if he didn’t take it down. Since the story made national TV, the
neighborhood association has rethought its position and agreed to indulge this
old hero who dwells among them.

"In the time I have left I plan to continue to fly the American flag without
interference," Barfoot told The Associated Press.

As well he should.

And if any of his neighbors still takes a notion to contest him, they might want to
read his Medal of Honor citation.
It indicates he’s not real good at backing down.

Van T. Barfoot’s Medal of Honor citation: 
   Medal of Honor
This 1944 Medal of Honor citation, listed with the National Medal of Honor
, is for Second Lieutenant Van T. Barfoot, 157th Infantry, 45th Infantry:

"For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond
the call of duty on 23 May 1944, near Carano , Italy . With his platoon heavily
engaged during an assault against forces well entrenched on commanding
ground, 2d Lt. Barfoot moved off alone upon the enemy left flank. He crawled
to the proximity of 1 machinegun nest and made a direct hit on it with a hand
, killing 2 and wounding 3 Germans. He continued along the German
defense line to another machinegun emplacement, and with his tommygun
killed 2 and captured 3 soldiers. Members of another enemy machinegun crew
then abandoned their position and gave themselves up to Sgt. Barfoot. Leaving
the prisoners for his support squad to pick up, he proceeded to mop up positions
in the immediate area, capturing more prisoners and bringing his total count to
17. Later that day, after he had reorganized his men and consolidated the newly
captured ground, the enemy launched a fierce armored counterattack directly at
his platoon positions. Securing a bazooka, Sgt. Barfoot took up an exposed
position directly in front of 3 advancing Mark VI tanks. From a distance of 75
yards his first shot destroyed the track of the leading tank, effectively disabling it,
while the other 2 changed direction toward the flank. As the crew of the disabled
tank dismounted, Sgt. Barfoot killed 3 of them with his tommygun. He continued
onward into enemy terrain and destroyed a recently abandoned German
fieldpiece with a demolition charge placed in the breech. While returning to his
platoon position, Sgt. Barfoot, though greatly fatigued by his Herculean efforts,
assisted 2 of his seriously wounded men 1,700 yards to a position of safety.
Sgt. Barfoot’s extraordinary heroism, demonstration of magnificent valor, and
aggressive determination in the face of point blank fire are a perpetual
inspiration to his fellow soldiers."
Col. Van T. Barfoot

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5 Responses to Remember the Guy that Wouldn’t take the Flag Down?

  1. -Grumps- says:

    Makes one wonder what goes through the minds of men during they’s time of exhibiting such heroism. Would he, and others like him think themselves invincible?? Is it the thought of, ‘do what I am able, take as many with me as I can afore I‘m offt??’ Seems near suicidal actions gone good.One wonders as well, the neighbourhoods quibble of a 21’ flagpole. Were they afeared it would compromise the incoming signal of they’s twenty foot plus television antenna towers??

  2. Greg says:

    Good morning Bob, Congratulations on your Lakers title. But the play by both teams would not even compete with the old Celtics-Lakers battles. Those teams around Bird and Magic were spectacular. I am riding the storm out too here at Spaces and it still feels like home. I wish I could comment more on your sharing. They do need to fix the comment section. Have a nice weekend, Greg

  3. Grandma's says:

    Hi Bob…Question….are you on Facebook?? I have sent countless invitations to a Bob Bowers…if you are on Facebook, please be my friend as that is where I seem to be spending most of my time. I’m under Karin Schumacher Fraser (Vancouver Network).

  4. GreatGranny says:

    Great blog as usual, didn’t get to see the pics.

  5. Sue says:

    No pics showed for me either. Would have loved to see them. Good story, though. Great to see you on FB—seems a shame Spaces has lost so many followers we are forced to be FB members…

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