A bed and breakfast in Saint Johns, Michigan, has removed a Norwegian flag from its property after it was mistaken by customers as the Confederate flag.
Nordic Pineapple, the popular Civil War-era mansion built in 1861, has been in operation for the past two years after it was converted into a bed and breakfast by Greg and Kjersten Offbecker.
The announcement to take down the flag was made in a post shared to Facebook, in which the owners said it was a “sad day at The Nordic Pineapple.”
“It is a sad day at The Nordic Pineapple,” Kjersten wrote. “We have decided to no longer fly The Norwegian flag on the front of the inn. This flag is so often mistaken for the Confederate flag and people are often offended by it before they realize that they are mistaken.”
“I am very proud of my Norwegian heritage and will fly it on special occasions like Norwegian Independence Day and maybe I will find a less conspicuous place to fly it but, for now we feel that it is the best decision to take it down,” she added.
In her Facebook post, Kjersten urged people to “slow down and see the world through less jaded glasses.”
According to the couple, in an interview with the Lansing State Journal, the pair have received “at least a dozen hateful emails” regarding the flag.
The couple noted that they find it odd that people are confusing the two flags. “I don’t see it because I grew up with the Norwegian flag,” Kjersten told the newspaper. “To me they are two distinct flags.”
“They are the same color, but there are no stars on the Norwegian flag, and the Confederate flag is a big ‘x’ and the Norwegian flag is part of the Nordic countries, they’re all crosses,” she said.
“We were panicked initially because we were like, ‘Oh my gosh. This town thinks that we’re hanging the Confederate flag,’” said Kjersten, whose grandfather was born in Norway.
“It bugs me as far as the stupidity of people,” Greg told the newspaper. “Even if the flag is blowing in the wind or laying limp, there are no stars on it. They look nothing alike.”
Kjersten also noted that she and her husband adopted two black children and have taught them “not to judge on first glance or outward appearances.”