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PIC: American flag upside down over US Capitol

The American flag. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Master Sgt. Scott T. Sturkol)
May 18, 2023

An American flag was seen flying upside down above the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday, a display typically used to signal “dire distress” and “extreme danger to life or property.”

Rogan O’Handley, a political activist whose Twitter handle is DC_Draino, shared a photo on Twitter showing the American flag flying upside down. The photo quickly went viral, garnering 4.3 million views by Thursday.

“NEW: US flag currently flying upside down over Senate building signaling distress and needing rescue. Some believe it was flipped after Sen. Fetterman spoke with the sophistication of a drunk toddler in a hearing today” O’Handley tweeted.

After many on Twitter questioned the photo’s authenticity, Newsweek confirmed it was real.

Citing a Capitol official, Newsweek reported the flag was briefly flown upside down due to a broken clip.

According to 4 U.S. Code § 8 – Respect for flag, 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.”

“UPDATE: Newsweek wrote a fact check article on my tweet & confirmed that the US flag was in fact upside down for a period of time over the Senate building yesterday, a symbol of emergency distress. How does this happen? No way it was a careless mistake,” O’Handley continued in a follow-up tweet.

“Yes I know the article says a “clip broke” but the flag wouldn’t fly like that if it was hanging by 1 clip. Guarantee the reply guys in my comments taking the government’s PR answer at face value are vaccinated & boosted,” he added. “The picture is clearly showing something different.”

Others echoed O’Handley’s skepticism, including one Twitter user who wrote, “A true Patriot did that no doubt.”

“If it was caused because a ‘clip broke’ wouldn’t the flag just streamer in the wind instead of still fluttering like a flag?” another user suggested.