Jesup man lowers flag to half-staff to protest President Obama - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Jesup man lowers flag to half-staff to protest President Obama

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JESUP (KWWL) -

People in Jesup are concerned about a homeowner's display of the American flag at half-staff, and briefly flying upside-down.

Dennis Caldwell of Jesup said he flipped his flag upside down on Wednesday after President Obama was re-elected for another term.

"Our country is in distress," he said.

Caldwell's neighbors say they were more distressed by the flag.

"People got really upset when they saw it flying upside down," said Clint Ohrt, a Navy veteran from Jesup.

Caldwell said he eventually flipped the flag right-side up on Wednesday afternoon, but kept it lowered at half-staff.

"I've had it that way since 2008 when President Obama was elected," said Dennis Caldwell. "It's my way of protesting against the President and administration."

Caldwell said he doesn't mean any disrespect toward military members or veterans. He said his father and brother are both veterans.

"I'm sorry if anybody is offended," he said. "I have the most respect for our military veterans."

Ohrt said folks in Jesup are concerned about the message Caldwell is trying to send.

"I don't know of any orders from the Governor or President to lower the flag," he said.

Ohrt added that he hopes the situation "gets taken care of."

United States Code Title 36 (Chapter 10), usually referred to as "Flag Code," was passed in 1994 and sets guidelines for Patriotic Customs and Observances.

Section 175 of the Flag Code states that the flag should be lowered to half-staff when ordered by the President or a Governor. It does not exclude or regulate when a person can lower a flag to half-staff.

Section 176 of the same code states, "The flag should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instance of extreme danger to life or property."

There are no specified consequences or penalties for disobeying the Flag Code of Patriotic Customs and Observances, as it is an advisory code -- meaning it is unlikely a person would go to jail for a violation.

Caldwell said it's his right to express his disapproval of the country's leaders in the manner he chooses.

"I told some friends of mine that if President Obama got re-elected, I was going to turn my flag upside down," he said. "A lot of people shake my hand and tell me, 'Thank you for standing up for what you believe in.'"

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