West Richland veteran flies American flag upside-down
Army veteran Bill Strickland is no stranger to serving our country.
He was in the National Guard for 10 years, then went to Iraq after September 11, 2001.
But now, this veteran is making a statement that's causing some controversy on his quiet street.
"For a long time, I've felt like the country's just headed in a direction that doesn't feel right" said Strickland.
After the election last week, Strickland started flying the American flag outside his home upside-down.
He says with high unemployment rates, a massive debt, and more veterans without insurance, the country is in distress.
"The biggest reason I see the country in distress is this current election. 94 million Americans didn't vote, and I don't know how they expect for the democracy to continue the way it is, if they're not coming out and voting" said Strickland.
But not everybody agrees with Strickland's view.
Some neighbors say the upside-down flag is disrespectful.
"I think it's very innapropriate. I understand this man is a veteran, but his views are obviously different than mine" said Gene Ellis, neighbor.
"I think that's just totally innapropriate. If he wants to voice his opinion, he should put the flag down" said Sandra Huebner, neighbor.
Some residents are backing Strickland's choice however, saying he has every right to express himself.
"If they feel so strongly about what's going on, then they have a right to show the flag the way that they want to" said Danae Thompson, neighbor.
Strickland says he's not trying to be disrespectful.
He just wants to stand up for what he believes in, and he hopes others will do the same.
"Get out and vote. Do something. When 94 million Americans sit at home and do nothing, nothing's gonna change" said Strickland.
Even though Strickland began flying the flag upside-down after the election, he says the statement isn't about being unsatisfied with the results of the election.
He says it's more about the lack of voter participation.
According to the United States Flag Code, an upside down flag is "a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life and property."