ARLINGTON – An American flag and the way it has been displayed is at the center of a dispute between neighbors that began after the 2008 presidential election.
Ever since 9/11, Arlington neighbors Patrick O’Toole and Sharon Garner both flew the American flag patriotically in front of their homes, until now.
In protest to the election results, O’Toole now flies a black flag above an upside down American flag.
“I just don’t think it’s American,” said Garner. “I just don’t think it’s neighborly. We have children that live in our neighborhood and I’m sure their parents have to explain to them why that flag is hanging like that.”
The flag is something Garner holds close to her heart. In fact, the American flag is painted on Garner’s birdhouse and bench.
“I love the flag,” she said. “I love what it stands for. I love the colors red, white and blue. [It] makes me feel good to display it.”
It’s a sentiment she said she thought she shared with her neighbor.
“He hangs his flag everyday, and he hangs it properly,” she said. “It’s displayed like it should be and he brings it down at dusk every day.”
But, O’Toole said there is a reason behind the act.
“The black flag is because our country is dying,” he said. “It’s never been more divided than it is right now. The upside down American flag is because the country is in distress.”
The Navy vet and history teacher is upset that the Democratic ticket took the White House.
“It is not about race and don’t ever throw the race card at me,” he said. “It’s about values. It’s about people that work hard and want to keep what they own.”
Garner said she didn’t vote for Obama either.
“The election is over,” she said. “It’s happened and we need to come together like we did in 9/11 and support each other and deal with it.”
But, O’Toole stood by his decision and said he has flown the flag since the 5th grade and didn’t make the decision in haste.
Wonder what gave him THAT idea.