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Posted: 5:03 p.m. Thursday, June 7, 2012
By Peter Daut
CORNELIUS, N.C. —
A Cornelius veteran who defended his country in the war on terror says he's now defending his right to free speech.
John Dillon, a retired Marine and active duty police officer, said he has proudly displayed the American and Marine Corps flags outside his home for seven years.
But on Memorial Day weekend, Dillon got a letter from his homeowner's association threatening to fine him $100 a day if he does not remove one of the flags.
It also warned that ignoring the fines could lead to legal action.
"After flying them for seven years, all of a sudden they're going to tell us we can't. But these flags mean everything to me," Dillon said.
Dillon and his wife said they met with HOA board members on Wednesday to ask them to revise the rules. He said they refused to budge.
"This is freedom of speech to me. This is something my husband served for and earned the right to fly. And I don't believe anyone has the right to take that away from us," Pam Dillon said.
HOA President John Carpenter has not returned requests for comment on the issue.
Dillon said he must now decide which of his beloved flags to take down from his front porch.
He said he plans to meet with the mayor of Cornelius over the next few days.
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