Woman Angers HOA By Hanging Flag 'Union Down' As War Protest

Wheat Ridge Resident Hangs Flag Upside Down In Protest

A Wheat Ridge woman has upset some of her neighbors and sparked quite a controversy by choosing her to hang a U.S. flag upside down outside her home.

Beth Hammer said she is flying her flag "union down" to protest the country's role in the war in Iraq, and her homeowners association is not happy about it.

A hearing on the matter is scheduled for Wednesday night.

Hammer, 64, is one of an increasing number of people who are very angry about the war. But it's the way she has expressed that anger that has rubbed some the wrong way.

Hammer turned her flag upside down on March 19 -- the fourth anniversary of the start of the War on Terror.

"Hanging the flag with the union down is a sign of distress, and it's my contention that the country is in a very distressful situation," Hammer said.

The board of her homeowner's association is very distressed with her, saying the way the flag is being flown violates Cambridge Park's patriotic and political expression policy.

"To me, the flag is a symbol of our country but it's also a symbol of the constitution and especially of the Bill of Rights, and the first one is freedom of speech," Hammer said.

Hammer is resisting the board's demand that she fly the flag properly or not at all, and she has since retained an attorney.

"The United States Supreme Court has been clear since as early as the 1930s that the flag can be flown in various ways as a demonstration of political viewpoints," said Hammer's attorney, Mari Newman.

One of Hammer's neighbors said those who manipulate the flag this way dishonor U.S. troops overseas.

"I don't think they belong in this country. If they don't like the way we do things, they ought to move," said Daniel Fantoni, a World War II veteran.

"Their problem is I'm not thinking like they are, and I think that's why I've been singled out," Hammer said.

Hammer has been cited by the HOA.

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