SPRINGFIELD, Ore. - Edward Zivica, a 70-year-old who served in the Navy in the 1960s, faces a hard choice come Veterans Day next week: He can obey the rules and remain in his apartment complex, or he can follow his tradition of hanging the American flag outside his place.
The managers at his subsidized housing project in Springfield, Ore., have given him notice he'll be evicted if he again violates the rules against putting anything on the exterior walls.
That notice came after the flag went up on Oct. 27 for Navy Day, one of several that Zivica marks by hanging it outside the community room near the main entrance. He'd gotten a letter from the management in June telling him to quit.
Zivica was in the Navy's Submarine Service from 1960 to 1967, the Eugene Register Guard reported.
The flag, he said, was one the Army sent when his dad, a World War II veteran, died. Zivica says a brother also served, in Korea, as a Marine.
He told the paper he doesn't have many options for housing, so he would knuckle under and sign a compliance notice, which he called "a confession" and "an apology."
But he also said he finds it hard not to hang the flag on Veterans Day.
"It's one of the biggest days of the year for us," he said. "... I guess we'll see what happens."
The downtown apartment complex is managed by St. Vincent de Paul of Lane County, which opened it in 2009 with Zivica as one of the first tenants. CEO Terry McDonald said the action wasn't aimed at the American flag as such but rather at preventing a precedent that could lead to more-controversial flags or banners.
"If you're going to live in a situation where there's lots of other tenants, you need to follow the rules that are set up," McDonald told KVAL-TV, which first reported the story.
After residents requested one, management has put up a flagpole. Zivica calls it "flimsy and cheesy-looking," plastic with no lanyard to hoist the flag or lower it to half-staff. The small flag, he said, has faded to orange after less than a year.
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