Flag waver shows her mood

Well-known signal of distress a sign of disrespect, neighbor says

CASSANDRA KLABUNDE says she hung a flag as a distress signal at her Clifton apartment because she feels like “things are closing in.”

With the nation’s deepening financial crisis and turmoil growing around the globe, Cassandra Klabunde can’t help but feel things are in disorder.

So, the Clifton resident — who voted for Barack Obama on Tuesday in the hopes his presidency will spark change — decided to fly her American flag upside down to reflect her feelings.

“I feel like things are closing in,” said Klabunde, who is flying the flag outside her apartment complex in the 400 block of 32 1/8 Road.

Klabunde, 59, said she learned by watching a television show on The History Channel that a flag flown upside-down is meant as a distress signal among sailing ships.

The self-described ’60s hippie said the gesture is her way of saying she’s ready to work hard to restore America’s freedoms. She raised the flag Tuesday before heading out to vote and was shocked to learn Wednesday the symbol drew the ire of at least one neighbor.

William Ellis, who contacted numerous media outlets in the Grand Valley regarding the flag, said his neighbor’s display “bothers me.”

“I wouldn’t do that to a flag,” he said.

According to the U.S. Flag Code, 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.”

The same section also says the flag will not be used in advertising or worn as part of a sports uniform or costume, and it should never be allowed to touch the ground. The code is suggested etiquette, however, and is not enforceable law.

Staff writer Le Roy Standish contributed to this report.


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