In 2011, Vietnam War veteran Steve LeBard embarked on a journey to create a veterans memorial at a busy intersection in Orcutt, California. According to The Tribune, the permit for the memorial was denied because it included the American flag and a law prevented flags from being flown at “gateway monuments.”
LeBard explained that the permit would have likely been issued if the flag wasn't part of the design but wondered, “Who’s going to put up a veterans’ memorial without an American flag?”
The veteran didn't give up on his fight to fly the flag out of respect to his fellow service members, though, and after gaining the attention of former Fox News host Bill O'Reilly, Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham took up his cause.
Cunningham sponsored legislation which CBS News affiliate KCOY reported was nicknamed “The Fix.”
“What this bill allows for once and all, as a matter of California law, is that you can fly a U.S. or California flag at what's called a 'gateway monument, a monument that usually marks the entrance to a city or town,'” he explained.
The bill passed unanimously and was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown and on Thursday, after six years of fighting, the monument was commemorated. Cunningham said he has “chills” and “couldn't be happier,” for LeBard. However, he added that he's “surprised” it required legislative action.
LeBard told KCOY that it feels “great” to not only have the monument but that his fight has opened up the entire state to fly the flag at any gateway monument project.
“To me that's even more significant to having a tribute to veteran's here because now it applies to anybody, any place in the state,” he said.