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What Did This Marine Do After Driving Past An Upside Down American Flag?


A Marine reservist and his girlfriend were driving past a McDonald’s in Glendale, Arizona recently, when they noticed something peculiar about the flag flying outside the restaurant.

It was being flown upside down.

Anybody could have easily kept on driving, and many probably already had.

But Elias Marzeleno wasn’t about to accept what he saw.

Marzeleno told KSAZ-TV that “it was plain disrespect that someone would raise our own nation’s flag upside down.”

He quickly made a u-turn in his vehicle, scanned the area for problems (an upside down flag is a sign if distress), and cut the flag down.

Watch the report below…

FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

The franchise owner, who served in the Marines himself, said the upside down flag was little more than an honest mistake, and he won’t be disciplining anybody over the incident.

He also thought the reservist who cut the flag down over-reacted.

What do you make of the whole ordeal? Did the Marine reservist overreact, or did the franchise owner not react enough?



  1. Mike3336 says:

    I believe the marine over reacted. If the upside down flag was hung inside of military lines it would be a different storie. But I don’t believe he should of cut down the flag simply because it is upside down. For all he knew the upside down flag may have been a symbol for something he was unaware of. But either way he should of confronted the store manager or local authorities, rather than taking matters into his own hand’s. The fact that he is a marine shouldn’t be an excuse to act with unwarranted authority in a matter regarding the orientation of a flag on private property. If it was a life and death situation my feeling’s would be different. But regardless of what our flag represents it is purely a symbol, and misrepresentstion of it shouldn’t act as a cause for haste decisions. Whether your an officer, an enlisted man or a civilian passing by.

  2. Martin says:

    The Marine Reservist did the correct thing. No, the franchise owner should not fire anyone for hanging the flag upside down the first time, unless he believes the employee did it on purpose. The franchise owners is wrong to criticize the Marine for cutting down the flag tho. It is disrespectful.

  3. Jerry says:

    A number of years ago, I saw the flag flying upside down in front of a US Post Office. Since this was a distress signal, I went inside and asked the postmaster (mistress) what the emergence was. She was embarrassed an very quickly corrected the situation. We remained friends and there was no problem. This is what should have happened in this case.

  4. Beth says:

    With everything that is happening in our country today about flags, I can see how this struck a raw nerve for the Marine. Glad it was a mistake, but look up to be sure it was right. God bless America. Thanks for your service, Marines and all

  5. Gary says:

    well was it a $15.00 hour cook or the $8.00 hour janitor or $13.50 hour mess your order up cashier

  6. Jeremy says:

    Really? I assume nobody that has commented here has ever made a mistake at work, especially when they were 16 years old. And when do you EVER see the owner of any business there doing what he/she pays someone else to do. I agree that the American flag is sacred. No other flag should ever be flown above it. EVER. So get off your high horses and stop being such assholes. It was an honest mistake that could have been corrected without over reacting. And to anyone who doubts this owners patriotism…you’re a moron. This man has sacrificed for this country. How many of you have?

  7. Win says:

    There is a meaning for flying the flag upside down. My grandmother did for her hatred of the murdering white people. The official meaning is that the country is in distress. The owner claims it’s an accident, but he accidentally was telling the truth. The United States of America is on the verge of dying, unless enough people stand up to the obvious tyranny happening to us by our government. This country is done. It won’t be the people that stood up to tyranny that will cause the end of this country. It will be the people that stick their pussy heads in the sand that will be responsjble for the demise of America.

  8. E Nancy says:

    As a female Veteran, I am totally appalled by the flag being flown upside down. If no one else, the Local Police should have seen it or the Fire Department….someone should checked out the distress sign long before 1300 hrs! Too many people simply let things go, without checking it out… there could have been a real problem going on…… God Bless you to the Reservist whom took action!!!

  9. Pam says:

    the way the franshise owner explains how to put it up like a pro then why was he not doing it if the flag means so much to him he was downright making excuses he was caught and played dumb so ya cutting it was the right thing to dowho raises a flag and dosent look up at it

  10. Vernon says:

    Actually this Marine overreacted to this upside down flag. Acording to the US flag code when there is an emergency, hostage, or invader activity the flag is to be flown upside down to alert first resonders or rescuers. He should have assesed the situation and been prepared to call 911. Then if the flag was upside down accidentally he should have calmly taught the employees of their mistake.

  11. Cheryl says:

    Bet the goofball that did it won’t do it again. The Marine took action and shamed the old complacent Marine. Of course he did the right thing!

  12. Ben says:


  13. Lela Uele says:

    It really doesn’t matter if it was flown for minutes or hrs, the matter of the fact is; that flag should never been raise the way it was. Who ever raised the flag suppose to look up while raising it to be sure it’s flying properly.

  14. Debbie says:

    Marine Reservist = 1 Franchise owner = 0

  15. Philip says:

    An American Flag flying upside down is a signal of distress. Once the Marine realized there was nothing going on, the right thing to do would be to inform the restaurant manager of the observation. As they said, “honest mistake”. Chances are it was some teenager that was groaning about having to do it, and just plain (big surprise) didn’t pay attention. To jump to a conclusion is ALWAYS the wrong decision.

  16. Sid says:

    I’m Canadian and know that a flag upside down is a signal of distress used when one cannot say there is a problem. It is the same in the US and UK. Rather then cut the flag down the Marine should have called the police it could have been something serious. I am a former Canadian Army Officer.

    1. Lela Uele says:

      There was nothing wrong, according to the franchise owner it was a mistake. He said his a Vietnam vet, so I think he should give them training on the proper way of raising the flag and always look up to be sure it’s flying properly.

  17. Vickie says:

    Glad he cut it down.

  18. Gloria says:

    I thank he did the right thing. We are letting to many thing go to please other people now.

    1. Gloria says:

      He did the right thing.