Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Upside Down Flag Protest Causing Controversy

One Chester resident says he's using his flag to protest the recent healthcare vote by flying it upside down as a sign that the country is in distress.


CHESTER - "I especially love the American flag. That's the most beautiful thing we have," said Ronnie Poole.

Plenty of patriotism flies quietly in Hilltop Farms community in Chester, but Ronnie Poole's flag is causing some noise.

"The flag flying upside down is a sign of distress that help is needed in that area of the country," said Poole

Poole says his upside down flag is his podium for protest. It changed direction after last week's historic vote on the healthcare reform bill. Poole has healthcare from his job and doesn't believe government should have a role in it, as evident also by the signs on his car.

"First thing Monday morning when I left to go to work I got the urge to take the flag down and flip it upside down in protest," said Poole.

One neighbor noticed the change right away, a veteran who emailed our station after he confronted Poole about it.

"He asked me, did I know my flag was upside down and I said, 'yes sir' and he said, 'Do you know that's a disgrace to the American flag?,'" said Poole.

The veteran says he's also against the healthcare bill but says using the flag as a tool is disrespectful to those who fight for the country. Some neighbors can see both sides.

"If I were a vet I'd probably be really upset and want to knock on his door and tell him to turn it around but you know everyone's got a right to their opinion," said neighbor Kenny Elam.

Poole was asked by the vet to do just that, to put the flag right side up. But Poole says it will stay the way it is and the Constitution says it can.

"I respect him for serving our country but him being a serviceman he should know the rights we have under the constitution," said Poole.

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