Have you ever seen an upside down American flag? We certainly hope not, but it is possible that you have. If you have spotted this at some point in your life, did you understand the symbolism? In general, members of the United States Military would be most likely to recognize this signal. Nonetheless, allow us to explain with a little help from the United States Flag Code.
8. Respect for Flag
- 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.
Quick interpretation: “Dire distress and extreme danger to life or property” should not be taken lightly here. These instances do not include moments of personal dissatisfaction or times of protest. While it is legal to express yourself in whatever way you so chose, it is illegal to fly an American flag upside down unless you are in a life or death situation. People have faced legal charges for flying an American flag upside down. Stores have also been forced to remove upside down American flags on clothing.
If you have any additional questions or concerns on how to fly your American flag, please refer to our flag etiquette page.
Credit: US Flag Code