Reporting Diana Rocco
By Diana Rocco
PHILLIPSBURG, N.J. (CBS) -”I feel I have a constitutional right to fly a flag.”
Dawn Paulus, 75, has lived through world wars and difficult times. In honor of Memorial Day, she flew three small flags from her balcony at a Phillipsburg, New Jersey housing project.
“I think the veterans, they fought for us and this is why we have our freedom. My ex-husband was in service, brothers, nephews, cousins — to me this is a big thing,”
Paulus said, sitting in her 6th floor apartment, which she pays just over $400 a month for.
But soon after she posted the flags, she received a cease order from the Phillipsburg Housing Authority. The order says she violated the lease and will be evicted if she doesn’t remove the flags immediately.
“I don’t want to be that guy. I don’t want my legacy to be I kicked anyone out over a flag,” Paul Rummerfield, the executive director of The Phillipsburg Housing Authority, said.
Rummerfield he’s been getting death threats people are so angry over the issue. But he claims the flags are a safety hazard.
“We’re not anti-American. It’s just a lease provision that says nothing can be on the balconies.”
Paulus lives just a stone throw from the town Green and the Civil War Memorial. The Memorial Day Parade passes Paulus’ home and it was important to her that her flags could be seen from the street. She says she’s willing to face eviction over it.
“I’ll put my things in storage and hang my hat wherever.”
Paulus says the people in her building support her and she’s not budging. When maintenance came to take the flags down, she refused.
“I can’t believe it. I can’t believe it. They have their priorities mixed up,” Paulus says.
Once the eviction notice is served, Paulus will have 30 days to take the flags down or her fate will be left to a judge.