Local veteran explains why he hung flag upside down

By: Kristen Shanahan Email
By: Kristen Shanahan Email

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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  • by alan Location: oklahoma on Jul 15, 2012 at 05:59 AM
    All the U.S. flags should remain upside down until our nation is uprighted.
    • reply
      by Jer on Jul 17, 2012 at 06:10 AM in reply to alan
      It'll be easier if you just stand on your head until we upright you.
  • by Gecko Location: Fort Worth on Jul 14, 2012 at 09:05 PM
    Bill Cowan is my brother-in-law and at first, I disagreed with what he did because I did not understand why. I am also a Viet Nam veteran. I agree that our Country is in a downward spiral and that we must take the necessary steps to try to make certain that we have the people in Washington who will fight for OUR rights. I am a PROUD AMERICAN! I support him for having the strength and courage to make a choice which will clearly be controversial. I believe he may have awoke the sleeping giant, which may be a good thing.
    • reply
      by Yep on Jul 17, 2012 at 01:52 PM in reply to Gecko
      Your brother-in-law is not only a very smart man. But also very brave. My husband, an Iraq veteran, has had his flag hanging upside down for some time now. However I asked that he leave it in the house and not out on the front porch, next to his USMC flag. Not because I disagree with him, I too feel like our country is in MAJOR distress, but because I didn't want my children to have to explain to people what it means. Most ignorant people would believe that he hates his country and that he is a trader...blah blah blah. The fact is he loves this country way more then most. We are both very sad to see what America is turning into. I think we should all hang our flags upside down for all to see. Perhaps that would send those corrupt politicians a message...? For that is the sign of a true patriot. Someone who is actually paying attention to what is going on in our govt. And for those of you that think this country is not in distress...your in for a very rude awakening. Also thank you both for serving our beloved country... I hope some day soon you will get to see it as the great nation it once was.
      • reply
        by James on Jul 19, 2012 at 06:10 PM in reply to Yep
        It is Obama that hates this country. I so tired of the wants of the few being shoved down the throats of the many even if it means the many don't want it and have to pay for it.
        • reply
          by Yep on Jul 20, 2012 at 12:15 PM in reply to James
          I couldn't agree more. The few being the Wealthy and they always try and use 'God' and/or 'the children' as their justification for why we(the many) should have to pay for it.
  • by Rick Location: Ardmore on Jul 13, 2012 at 04:26 PM
    The man became a un american! case closed
  • by casper Location: usa on Jul 12, 2012 at 08:46 AM
    i have allready left my opinion on story but reading the comments, i am confounded on how people can get so stirred up over a natinal (political) issue when the american people pay more to house prisoners than to take care of there old,disabled, (VETRENS),and yes even law abiding public assestance people. youre average sociol security payment is between 800 and 1200 a month,(people have worked 20 years and paid this in. well the average for housing a criminal is 2100$ a month.)and that is for someone that has more than likely harmed are caused grief to a law abiding citizen,
    • reply
      by James on Jul 19, 2012 at 06:26 PM in reply to casper
      Most of these inmates you are referring to were raised in well fare homes by single mothers that are encouraged to stay single because it is more profitable than getting married and being a tax payer (watch absent). And now they are going to get more free benefits at our expense. Or they are victims of the useless war on drugs that has created rich street gangs and and the price of drugs so high that they have to steal to pay for them. Combine absent fathers, free rides at others expense, and huge drug profits and you fill the prisons by more useless government policies, very similar to the one that this man is protesting. I believe they are covering a lot of them but it's just this one that set him off. You go dude!!!
      • reply
        by casper on Jul 20, 2012 at 11:45 AM in reply to James
        kinda makes you wonder, how many of the lawyers and judges and politicions have a vested intrest in the private prision industry. americas largest growing industry.think about it . more money than a hotel chain,all the rooms are full.
  • by pop up ads are a pain on Jul 11, 2012 at 08:44 PM
    The musical band Rage Against the Machine would fly the flag upside down at their concerts. They did it mainly to protest US foreign policy. Also I like the way KXII described "hundreds" of people were upset about the health care law. In a country of about 360 million a few "hundred" upset isn't bad at all.
  • by Bueford in the Machine on Jul 11, 2012 at 02:32 PM
    I heard that Obama's death panels had a list of high priorities to knock off first. First all Tea Party members, then Registered Gun owners, and lastly anyone named Bill.
    • reply
      by LMAO on Jul 19, 2012 at 08:26 AM in reply to Bueford in the Machine
      that's funny Bueford!
    • reply
      by Rufus on Jul 21, 2012 at 03:45 PM in reply to Bueford in the Machine
      If this is true, it proves Obama is the greatest president of all time.
  • by wile e coyote for president! on Jul 11, 2012 at 02:13 PM
    I dunno, is the country really in distress? 1.5 trillion dollar deficits, an artificially low debt of 16 Trillion set to reach 25 trillion in 10 years----NO WAIT! This just in today, the 900 million projected cost of Obamacare (he promised, remember?) has risen to 2.6 trillion and SS outlays will increase half a trillion more because of rising disability recipients--- so make that a 28 trillion and growing daily 10 year projected deficit. Is that distress? It is if you have any grasp on reality. I wonder who is going to lend us that extra 3-4 trillion dollars per year? (I included state, county and local annual deficits in that number)
  • by Rick Location: Bonham on Jul 11, 2012 at 11:32 AM
    I also have much respect for the flag. However I can understand the gentleman's response to this situation. Our nation has been going down the socialist/communist road for a number of years now and people are allowing the nation to be slowly taken from "we the people." If this ideology is not voted out this time then there will be no vote, as we have known it, in 2016. And what has caused this downfall of the nation? The people have failed to remember the God that our fathers made covenant with and are driving Him out of most aspects of our lives. The people have allowed the lie of "seperation of church and state" to take over and since God was removed from our schools all aspects of crime, sin and illogical thinking have bloomed like a dark weed in a dead garden. If the nation and people are to be saved only a return to the God of our freedoms will save us.
    • reply
      by Ricky Bobby on Jul 12, 2012 at 03:49 AM in reply to Rick
      I like your revisionist history but unfortunately you're wrong. The "lie of church and state"? You mean the first amendment? "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion". Our "fathers" came from theocracies and knew first hand the dangers of a combined church and state. Which form of Christianity should we follow? I know! Your version and interpretation, correct?
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Jul 13, 2012 at 06:42 AM in reply to Ricky Bobby
        making no law respecting establishment of religion in no way dictates separation of religion and state. It means there can be no preference shown for one over the other, there can be no 'state' religion. It does not mean banishment of religion from matters of state which anyone with any sense of history and reality knows.
        • reply
          by Jer on Jul 13, 2012 at 03:04 PM in reply to
          So when someone wants a prayer to Satan or the Flying Spaghetti Monster's commandments on public property you pay for with your tax dollars, that's OK with you, right?
        • reply
          by Ricky Bobby on Jul 13, 2012 at 08:25 PM in reply to
          So let me get this straight, there cannot be a 'state' religion according to your interpretation of the First Amendment. Are you saying that the 'state' and 'religion' must be separated? Because even though my sense of history and reality are a little in doubt I'm pretty sure thats what you said. Glad we agree.
    • reply
      by Logic on Jul 12, 2012 at 06:18 AM in reply to Rick
      Illogical thinking? People that believe in your God believe that Noah's Ark landed somewhere in the Middle East after the flood and a Three-Toed Sloth that moves about 23 feet per day walked across the desert, then swam across the Atlantic Ocean to his present day home in the South American rain forest! They also believe that after this Flood their God made Rainbows as a promise to never again kill us all by water. So did light NOT refract through water droplets in the air before Noah? I could spend all day on the illogical assertions made in your Bible..and you would justify them all to keep that myth alive that when you die you don't really die. Yes. We need separation of Church and State. Our government cannot show preference to ANY religion. Be it Christian, Muslim, Hindu, or Haitian Voodoo!
      • reply
        by Mike H. on Jul 12, 2012 at 04:47 PM in reply to Logic
        Sloths move about 6.5 feet per minute...but sleep about 10-15hrs a day. Your premise is sound, and it is still ridiculous to imagine, but Sloths actually get around pretty decent. But 6.5 feet a minute across hot desert sands to a creature used to a rain forest? And how did he make it across the Ocean? Did God use God magic on the animals and put them back in place? If so, then why have a guy build a boat?! Just magic all the animals away, kill the people, then magic the animals back. Simple right?! It is a ridiculous story in a ridiculous book. Jesus: God needing to come to Earth to convince himself to forgive us for being...human.
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Jul 13, 2012 at 06:44 AM in reply to Logic
        There he is! That 'logical' thinker that believes any outlandish thing that supports his worldview (faith) while he derides the faith of all others!
        • reply
          by Logic on Jul 13, 2012 at 09:52 AM in reply to
          Global Warming outlandish? Beyond belief huh? What the hell are you trying to say?
        • reply
          by Anonymous on Jul 13, 2012 at 11:31 AM in reply to
          Well, I see you are at least vaguely aware of one of your faith beliefs, even if it took some doing to reveal that to you. I expect irrelevant and ignorant protestations to follow. Did you ever go to the 'Watts up with that?' site or was it too scary for you? Dr. Watts is to GW believers as O'Hara was to Christianity, except he deals in real science to prove the dishonesty and inaccuracies of the theory. How close minded are you? How have you dealt with the study that shows global temps were 2-3 degrees warmer 2000 years ago and that the trend has been cooler ever since? Shows that the recent warming is well within norms with little to NO anthropomorphic correlation possible? How is that possible!? Maybe because as the father of GW theory said recently, it now appears that CO2 has little or no effect on climate change despite all his alarmist claims in the past? Turn on An Inconvenient Truth and put on your headphones in a dark room. It will be OK.
        • reply
          by Logic on Jul 13, 2012 at 04:58 PM in reply to
          Dude. You can site some guys opinion all day long. Fact is it is going to be increasingly difficult for you to maintain YOUR delusion. We are experiencing climate change every day. Your week long snow storms in December and some ice growth in January up in the Arctic isn't going to erase the longer and longer summers we are experiencing. This year marks the hottest on record. It may be 2, may be 10 years, but I just have to sit here and say I told you so. You guys are the ones that have to come up with more random scientists to tell me why my lying eyes are deceiving me! Didn't I show you a video of the cumulative arctic ice melt the past 30 years? Sure it grows a little in the winter..but it melts more each summer. And you realize that less reflective ice on the water means warmer water right? And you realize that warmer water means less ice right? You see the cycle? No. In fact you don't see it and hang on to the dwindling snowstorms as "proof" everything is just fine...if your lucky, you might get a few days this year below freezing you can gloat at...the rest of the year you get to watch drought take its toll...then argue its getting COOLER! LOL!
        • reply
          by Logic on Jul 15, 2012 at 08:24 AM in reply to
          @ Anonymous You also are trying to hinge our observations of climate change on the opinions of single individuals. I suppose this is your conservative authoritative response and instinct coming through. Permanent arctic ice melt. Snow gone from Kilimanjaro that has been there since recorded history. Rivers of melted water off glaciers in Greenland that have been stable since men have lived there. Thousands of record high temp across the US this year alone going back to 1895. Drought worse than the dustbowls of the 30's. And on the other hand the opinion your Dr. Watts....who do we believe?
        • reply
          by Anonymous on Jul 16, 2012 at 07:50 AM in reply to
          Logic, the point is it is NOT opinion on the Watts site! His is the most viewed site on climate change issues in the world and frequented by some brilliant scientists that contribute to some of the highest level discourse and debate on the subject you will find anywhere. If you have the knowledge and skill to analyze and follow the data he presents you can form your own opinion. He also presents proof of outright fraud in GW alarmism in many cases. His site is not his opinion or even his analysis alone, it is a collection of eminent scientists and experts who dare to point out the emperor has no clothes. Try to see if you can comprehend before you dismiss. In your second effort you made several blatantly false statements that have been debunked even by leading GW alarmists! Like the snow on Kilamanjaro. That was proven to be due to man caused deforestation on the slopes of the mountain which has stopped the evaporation cycle that continually fed the slopes with frozen precipitation. See 'Nature' magazine 2003 that reluctantly put a lie to one of Al Gore's nutty science 'proofs' of GW. I can direct you to studies that put a lie to every one of your other examples, including the ridiculous things you said about Greenland, but my experience with KXII moderation tells me it would take too long and the effort would be lost. But some of your beliefs are every bit as supported by fact as is Noah's Ark. You can continue to live on faith in this regard while ridiculing others who do the same thing in other ways, but in the back of your mind I hope you realize what a blatant hypocrite you are when you do it and how ironically hilarious it is that you declare yourself to be 'logic' personified.
      • reply
        by I'm shocked on Jul 19, 2012 at 08:24 AM in reply to Logic
        I finally agree with logic on something! The end is near!
    • reply
      by Mike H. on Jul 12, 2012 at 02:56 PM in reply to Rick
      So are you saying that as you go back in American history your God plays more and more a role in our lives? Scary. That means your God was there when we killed all the Indians, enslaved men for profit, let 12 years olds work 16 hr shifts in coal mines, made women stay at home barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen and NO voting rights, colored drinking fountains, ect...seems to me the further back you go, the LESS freedom more people had...
      • reply
        by John on Jul 21, 2012 at 03:49 PM in reply to Mike H.
        Good comment. Less fairy tales in our govt. is a good thing.
    • reply
      by Rick James on Jul 12, 2012 at 05:14 PM in reply to Rick
      Article VI, Section 3 of the constitution states: "The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States, and of the several States, shall be bound by oath or affirmation to support this Constitution; but NO RELIGIOUS TEST shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States."
    • reply
      by Founding Father on Jul 12, 2012 at 05:18 PM in reply to Rick
      "Believing that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their Legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between Church and State." -- Thomas Jefferson to Danbury Baptists, 1802.
    • reply
      by ummm... on Jul 17, 2012 at 02:16 PM in reply to Rick
      I don't think god is the answer but at this point I'd almost be willing to try anything. The real truth is...voting one corrupt politician out of office means we have to vote another corrupt politician into office. That's the problem we've been faced with for the last 30 years or so...at least! The only difference between Obama and Romney is the hard candy shell on the outside...on the inside they are both nuts! I wish voters would spend the whole year before elections graphing the true differences between the democrat and republican candidates before they go to the voting booths. And I don't mean what they say on mainstream media, we all know politicians lie...so why do we still believe them? I mean do some research on how they vote...and on what projects they work to get funding for and also where their campaign funds TRULY come from. If we all did this then we would see...there aren't that many differences between them at all. As far as religion is concerned. I'm not a believer...but if you are then you go ahead and pray...your not bothering me one bit. I think you should be free to worship your god in whatever way you choose. All I ask is that you pay me the same respect. For that is why I feel separation of church and state is so important. Because we should all be FREE! I don't want god forced out of your live anymore then I want him forced into mine.
  • by Webster Location: Van Alstyne on Jul 11, 2012 at 09:25 AM
    Can someone please do a proofread on stories before you post them online??? Capitalization, spelling, grammar??? Any actual journalism majors up there???
    • reply
      by Bueford in the Machine on Jul 11, 2012 at 02:23 PM in reply to Webster
      Dude... your such a whiney tool.
  • by Citizen Location: Texoma on Jul 11, 2012 at 05:58 AM
    Hanging the flag upside down may be one of the most disrespectful thing an American citizen can do. That may be the dumbest reason I've ever heard and I'm not an Obama supporter. You people have lost your mind. Respect the country, Respect the flag, and if you don't like the way things are change it through a vote. If that doesn't do it for you pack your bags and leave. You'll find it so much better in Costa Rica. What a JERK.
    • reply
      by James on Jul 19, 2012 at 07:08 PM in reply to Citizen
      So you want to impose on this man's freedom of speech, freedom to do what he wants with his own property? You talk about being patriotic and at the same time want to restrict his rights as an American? Once someone buys a flag he can do what he pleases with it even if it is disrespectful. Freedom is for all Americans and not just the ones you think should get it. Do you vote? We can't change things because so few vote. I know many that say it does no good. They are the reason it does no good.
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