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Source: Joe Newby
Date: September 13, 2011

Coeur d'Alene man flies U.S. flag upside down, no reason given - Spokane Conservative

Dave Cotton of Spokane's KHQ-TV reported Tuesday that an unidentified Coeur d'Alene man has been flying an American flag upside down since Sunday, September 11.

Cotton did not identify the man, nor did he say what neighborhood the man lives in "to protect the neighbors in that area," and the man himself.

Mark Billings, assignment editor for KHQ and a veteran of the U.S. Army, explained that flying the flag upside down is a sign of extreme distress.

Reading from the U.S. flag code, he added that "no disrespect should be shown" to the U.S. flag

Section 8a of the United States Flag Code states, "The flag should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property."

Cotton noted there did not appear to be any emergency.

"We don't know," Billings replied, speculating that perhaps the bank is foreclosing on his house, or perhaps the man is concerned about the "state of America."

"It really comes down to how you define emergency," Cotton added.

Billings, however, replied the code did not specify 'emergency.'

"It says dire distress," he said, adding the code mentions cases of danger to life or property.

The two men attempted to parse what the meaning of the code might mean in the case of the Idaho man.

"We have no idea what this gentleman's issue is," Billings said, noting this is not the first time someone has flown a flag upside down in opposition to policy.

"It's not necessarily a sign of disrespect," he added.

Billings remarked that the man may "love his country" as much as everyone else, but Cotton observed that flying the flag upside down was a "strange way" of showing that love.

The Coeur d'Alene Press reported in August 2010 that Kerry Domenichelli of Rathdrum flew a flag upside down "to voice his dissatisfaction with the direction he says the country is heading."

"Freedoms are disappearing, jobs are gone, our economy is going into the tank and the government seems to be taking over everything," Domenichelli said. "This is nothing like the country I grew up in as a child."

Tuesday's report sparked a great deal of discussion on KHQ's Facebook page.

Some had no problem with the display, while others felt it was disrespectful, especially on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks.

Ginanne Mitchell wrote, "maybe instead of being outraged at him, they should go talk to him and ask him what may possibly be wrong?? actually BE A NEIGHBOR, ya know?"

Good question.

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