Local veteran explains why he hung flag upside down

GRAYSON COUNTY, TX -- Hundreds of people across the nation were outraged when the supreme court upheld President Barack Obama's health care law. One Sherman man showed his disapproval with a controversial action that met with disapproval of it's own.

A Veteran of the Armed Services, Tim Deater, says he was so upset when he saw a flag flying upside down he wrote a letter to the editor of a local newspaper. Bill Cowan says he did hang up the flag with the union down for more than a week and he wants people to know why.

Bill Cowan, a Vietnam Veteran, says he hung the American Flag upside down June 28th when the high court upheld President Obama's health care overhaul. A law that affects the way americans receive and pay for their personal medical care.

"I just could not believe that they allowed the federal government to take over 1/6 of our nation's economy in one swoop," Cowan said.

Tim Deater says he noticed the flag when he came home to Sherman to visit his parents. Deater says everyone has the right to his or her own opinion, but what he saw deeply upset him.

"It's the flag of america. It's the flag of freedom. It's the flag that a lot of people have died for. And so there's other avenues I would think. If you wanted to run a billboard or if you wanted to buy a big yard sign," Deater said.

Bob Hillerby is also a Vietnam Veteran and he agrees with Deater.

"Flying a flag upside down doesn't tell anybody what you're protesting against," Hillerby said.

Hillerby referred to the U.S. flag code, the first rule of which states:

"The flag should never be displayed with union down expect as a signal of dire distress in instances in extreme danger to life or property," Hillerby said.

However, Cowan says his reason for facing the union down was a signal of distress.

"I did it because I thought my country, when the supreme court made the rhythm, that we are in distress. We are in extreme danger to life and property. Well my gosh they are taking over people's livelihoods. How extreme do you want to be," asked Cowan

Cowan says he hung the flag upright Saturday afternoon because he felt he had already expressed his opinion. He says he has fought for his country and earned his rights to his opinions, and his actions were not meant to disrespect the flag.

"I love my country. I love my flag I would never disrespect the flag. I don't spit on it. I don't burn it. I don't step on it. I don't blow my nose with it," Cowan said.

Cowan says several people he talked to understand his actions. He says the code is an advisory and he does not believe he did anything wrong by hanging the flag upside down.

To see the U.S. Flag Code visit www.usflag.org.


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