An upside down flag is not only a signal of dire distress, it’s also viewed as an act of desecration.
Orange County Firefighters from Station 75 were patrolling Santa Ana, Calif earlier this weekend (Aug 16, 2020) when they came upon a disturbing image at an Arco gas station at the corner of 1st and Grand Ave, the flag displayed in front was flying upside down. With a bit of time on their hands, Station 75 informed the station attendant of their mistake and quickly got to work, getting that American flag flying right-side up.
Check out their post on Instagram chronicling the somewhat serious moment.
In the first picture we see their American flag flying all willy-nilly in the afternoon winds upside down.
According to 36 U.S.C. §176 (a). Respect for flag,
(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.
Keen eyes will notice not only did they lower the flag to correct it, since it’s been bleached by the sun, up there for far too long, they found a replacement flag so the colors show brighter than ever before.
Technically, if someone in the gas station legitimately needed help and was somehow stripped of all electronic communications, if they had access to raising and lowering their American flag, this is one way they can silently “shout” for help to anyone outside.
Instagram user @EthelTJustice brought this up and asked,
“Did anybody talk to the owner of that flag and pole and find out why he flew that flag upside down?“
According to @OCFireFighters,
Gas station was checked out. Everything was OK. Unknown why.
More than likely this is the result of a gas station worker not paying attention. It’s also possible that this was a prank since gas stations like this are open at all hours and raising and lowering the flag is unnecessary if they never close.
Here’s that ARCO on Google Maps.
This just goes to show with our American flag, someone’s always watching, making sure that symbolic cloth is given the respect it deserves.
I tip my hat to you, OC Firefighters.