US Army veteran arrested for flying flag upside down in protest

A US Army veteran in Iowa was arrested and charged with desecrating the US flag after hanging it upside down below a Chinese flag in protest of an oil pipeline being built against his wishes next to his water well.

Army veteran Homer Martz was arrested after two Calhoun County approached him at his home with his flags in their hands, according to CubicLane.

Martz was upset because eminent domain was allowing a Texas company to build a pipeline near his water supply.

“They said, ‘You can’t do this. We have a statute,” Martz told The Messenger. “I said ‘I’m sorry but you shouldn’t have took them down,’ So I walked back out and put them back up.”

Martz was then arrested, with deputies citing that the flagpole at the end of Martz’s driveway was in the county’s right-of-way.

Calhoun County Attorney Tina Meth-Farrington said that Iowa has a flag desecration law, which is a simple misdemeanor punishable by up to a month in jail.

Martz says he never knew that there was even a flag desecration law.

“If they had asked me to take them down, and showed me the statute, I would have taken them down,” Martz said. “But in my book, they trespassed by taking the flags down.”

The government’s use of eminent domain to allow the Texas-based company Dakota Access to build a pipeline that intersects his well supply line was troubling to Martz, who says was never notified of the pipeline. In response, he set up a Chinese flag, upside-down American flag and a sign that read:

“In China there is no freedom, no protesting, no due process…“In Iowa? In America?”

“I’m a soldier,” Martz said. “When I walked to the airport in the ’70s with my dress uniform on, I was spit on. I stood in front of people that were protesting, and I’ve been cussed at. And like I said, that’s their rights. I’ve never infringed on their rights.”

“But you know, freedom of speech, freedom to protest . . . people can burn the American flag,” Martz pointed out. “It’s legal. That’s the Supreme Court.”

Dakota Access has promised to build the pipeline without damaging his water lines and promise to fix the line if an accident occurs.

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  • Andy Wolf

    Andy Wolf is an Appalachian native who spent much of his youth and young adulthood overseas in search of combat, riches, and adventure- accruing decades of experience in military, corporate, first responder, journalistic and advisory roles. He resides in North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains with his K9 companion, Kiki.

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