Have you ever seen an American flag flying upside down? It's a sight that can raise eyebrows, and in Illinois, it might soon be illegal.


United States Flag Codes

I'm assuming, (and hoping), that most Americans know that there are certain codes that need to be followed when displaying an American flag. Some of the most well known codes are:

  • American flags must never touch the ground.
  • American flags left up 24/7 must be illuminated at night.
  • An old American flag must never be disposed of in the trash.
  • If displaying an American flag with other flags, the U.S. flag must always be at the center or highest point.

What about United States flag codes that are less well known? One Illinois village recently made the mistake of breaking one flag code, and thousands of residents throughout the state are NOT happy about it.

Is It Illegal to Fly an American flag Upside Down?

The answer to this question might seem obvious because flying an American flag upside down is completely disrespectful, BUT it is technically not illegal in Illinois...yet.

In case you are unaware, flying an American flag upside down is traditionally a signal of distress. (Imagine a ship in danger, desperately trying to get help by reversing its colors), but the Village of Homer Glen in Illinois recently did this outside one of their administration buildings, and it upset a LOT of people.

According to mystateline.com, one official "took action on May 31, one day after a jury convicted former President Donald Trump on 34 counts of falsifying business records."

Basically, the flag was flown upside down as an act of protest, and that is NOT okay, especially outside a government building.

New Bill Proposed to Make Flying U.S. Flags Upside Down in Illinois a Felony

State Representative Harry Benton has proposed a bill that would make flying a U.S. flag upside down outside a government building a felony in Illinois, but getting the bill passed may be tricky.


Because the First Amendment protects free speech, and that includes symbolic speech.  Keep in mind that burning a flag has been ruled as protected speech by the Supreme Court, so ruling against flying an upside-down flag has a bit of gray area.

State Rep Harry Benton's proposed bill is directed solely at government officials,  because they represent the state and flying the flag improperly is disrespectful.

There's is an exception in the bill for extreme danger or distress, like if a government building is literally on fire, then flying the flag upside down to signal an emergency would likely be okay.

This is a debate that's likely to continue. While some see respecting the flag as important, others may argue laws like this limit free speech. Which side of the fence do you stand on?

13 Stupid Illinois Laws

The 25 Funniest Google Reviews of Illinois Jails

Why do jails, prisons, and correctional facilities need to be reviewed? Apparently, to make people laugh.

Gallery Credit: Unsplash

More From Rockford's New Country Q98.5