Upside-down flag at a West Virginia McDonald’s raises questions

An American flag flown upside-down and at half staff the day after the election at a McDonald's in West Virginia has raised questions and concerns.

The flipped flag—which can be considered a call for help or a sign of distress—was taken down at about 11:30 p.m. at the restaurant along Route 2 in Follansbee, reports WTOV.

Karen Mezan, the owner of the local fast-food franchise, told WTOV a mechanical issue caused the mishap. However, before the flag was removed, the station had received hundreds of calls expressing disappointment. Some callers had also questioned the timing of the display as a reaction to the general election results, which saw President Barack Obama handily win re-election over GOP challenger Mitt Romney. Romney won the state of West Virginia.

"To me it's about the flag," said Chris Cipriani, who told the news station he would no longer patronize the restaurant. "Regardless of who you are for, you don't desecrate the flag."

Lou Headman, a veteran, said, "I think that's a stab at us. It doesn't make sense why anyone would want to do that. That's a distress signal and maybe they didn't know that, but we know that."

Headman told the station he believes the display was a mistake and he will continue to dine at the restaurant.

Mezan said, "Unfortunately, a flag cable broke and during the process of trying to fix the flag, it was inadvertently turned upside-down. It wasn't noticed that the flag was upside-down until a customer inquired about it. We are working on fixing the flag right now. It's important to note that this was an accident, not intentional."

Mary Ellen Brennan commented on the TV station's Facebook page: "It's her business and she can express her disappointment, fine with me."

By 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday the flag—our red-white-and-blue symbol of democracy—was being flown correctly and atop the pole in front of the restaurant, WTOV reported.