Village of Lannon — Nick Hager, a part-time firefighter for the village of Menomonee Falls, flew his American flag upside-down outside his condo in Lannon; neighbors alleged he was protesting Donald Trump, who hadn't been inaugurated at the time.
The aptly-named Whispering Ridge Condominiums, which is usually a quiet community, was seeing an influx of residents and veterans who were offended by Hager's protest.
Whispering Ridge resident and Vietnam veteran Howard Hadley said he expected a firefighter to have better principles.
"I am certainly aware that he has every right to protest his dissatisfaction under his First Amendment rights," Hadley said. "As a Vietnam veteran with over 25 years in the U.S. Air Force, I have defended that right in war to allow the individual such freedom. I, as well as other veterans in this community, are deeply offended by a display of the flag in this manner. Displaying the flag upside down indicates distress or danger to life and property. We don't see that here. We are not at war."
For more than a week, Hager flew the flag upside-down, but Hadley said he wouldn't discuss his protest with virtually anyone.
"He would not answer his door, phone, email, or even Facebook; he wouldn’t respond to anything," Hadley said. "When reporters were knocking on his door, he wouldn’t answer even though he was home. He didn’t want to talk. He has a position – that he didn’t like the election of Donald Trump, and his protest to that was putting the flag upside-down. There’s so many ways that you can protest that are more effective, but that certainly upset a lot of veterans and residents around here.”
Lannon Police Chief Kevin Porter called to check in on Hager's well being.
"The police chief called him a week ago because we brought it up to him because if a flag is upside-down, it means distress and who knows what was going on in that house," Hadley said. "The police chief talked to him for about an hour; he told the police chief he was protesting the new administration, so that was a clear indication as to why he was doing it.”
Porter declined to comment on the situation.
On Sunday, Jan. 15, when Packers fans across the state were celebrating a victory over the Dallas Cowboys, Hager was removing his American flag completely.
Hadley said this was not good enough.
"The right thing would have been to put the flag right-side up, like he used to do before, but taking it down eliminates the offense it caused so many people," Hadley said. "Why didn’t he put it back up properly? Only he knows that.”
While it is not illegal to fly the American flag upside down, the act breaks the United States Flag Code (Title 4, Chapter 1): "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."
Hager would not respond to requests for an interview.