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Upside Down Flag

Flying the American flag upside down is an officially recognized signal of distress.

Here is the relevant part of the US Code of Laws regarding how to fly the flag when in distress:

THE UNITED STATES FLAG CODE
Title 4, Chapter 1


§ 8(a)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.


Most individuals who have served in military service of our nation should recognize this signal.

People ask if it is OK to fly the flag upside down in protest, for example: to protest the economy, an election or against the war. The Flag Code states it should only be displayed upside down when there is extreme danger to life or property. It would be quite the stretch to make an argument that any type of political purpose would constitute “dire distress”. It is recommended that people who wish to make a protest in this fashion do so that it is respectful of the flag. We must remember that our flag represents the government of the United States and all of its policies. It also stands for our freedom of speech, our right to practice or even not to practice the religion of our choice and it represents one united nation in all its glory and the American values. Most importantly it stands for the sacrifices made past, present and in the future to protect our freedoms. Read the proper ways to display the American flag under specific circumstances on our Displaying The Flag page.

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