Brunswick resident Ernie Lamarre is flying the American flag upside-down to signify what he says is a nation in deep trouble. C. Thacher Carter / The Times Record

There’s no one reason that Ernie Lamarre, who has lived in Brunswick for 77 years, decided to fly the U.S. flag upside down from his front lawn on Stanwood Street.

The flag has been that way for about three weeks, Lamarre said. Below it hangs a “Trump 2024” flag. For him, the inverted flag serves as a symbol of a country in deep trouble.

Lamarre’s reasoning involves many of the controversies that have made pundits froth this year: masking mandates, the Black Lives Matter movement, President Biden’s immigration and foreign policy decisions, abortion, climate change and other issues that have conservatives up in arms.

“It’s just crazy,” Lamarre, a self-identified Christian conservative, said. “The socialists think they’re winning — but the American worker is starting to wake up finally, I think.”

The positioning of the flag has drawn praise and criticism from passersby, Lamarre said. Regardless, Lamarre said he will fly the flag upside-down until the next election, or if Nancy Pelosi — a favorite target of the right — is removed from her position as Speaker of the House.

According to U.S. Flag Code, the flag should never be displayed upside-down “except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property.”

Lamarre’s upside-down flag above the Trump 2024 flag. C. Thacher Carter / The Times Record

Brunswick American Legion Post 20 Cmdr. David Watson said that politics are not an appropriate reason for hanging the flag in such a manner. An example of when a flag should be flown upside-down, Watson said, is if the U.S. was under physical attack.

Otherwise, the flag ought to be an “apolitical” symbol, Watson said. “It doesn’t matter whether it’s the left or the right, flying it upside down isn’t appropriate.”

Watson, who served in the Air Force from 1966-70, said he suspects some veterans would find it offensive.

In 2018, The Times Record reported on a similar situation, where Bowdoinham resident Gregg McNally flipped his 13-star American flag to speak out against the 2016 election and the Trump administration.

At the time, McNally said his flag was flown upside-down, in part over alleged collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia. He also drew criticism at the time.

In an email Wednesday, McNally declined to be interviewed for this story, but said that his flag, which is now faded, “has flown upright since the free, fair and transparent election of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris!”

“Everything is divided now, you’re not going to bring us together,” Lamarre said when asked about the divisiveness of the upside-down flag. “There is no way you’re going to bring us together unless you kick the socialists out.”


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