STEVENS POINT – A couple months ago, a 67-year-old Vietnam veteran began flying his American flag upside down to protest what he views as scandalous American failings: the attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi, accusations that the IRS targeted conservative groups and the expanding reach of the NSA. The gesture, which represents the international signal for a vessel or person in distress, is getting more attention since the shutdown of the federal government.
Walter Blanchard, who said he served as a sniper with the Green Berets in Vietnam and served in Korea, told a local reporter that the failure of Congress to work together is one of the reason he’s flying his flag upside down and he has no intention of taking it down until the political landscape changes.
“I’m not anti-government; I fought for this country and government. I don’t like the way our government is headed,” he said. “I’m going to keep it up until our government comes around and starts talking to each other, until they get something accomplished.”
Blanchard said he has received mixed reactions for the gesture. Some neighbors view it as disrespectful while others acknowledge his right to speak out and his frustration with government. He also said that he’s received mostly supportive emails from all over the country and even spoke with staffers from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)’s office although no details were given as to the nature of that conversation.