Elias Marzeleno and his girlfriend were driving through Glendale when they noticed the American flag hanging upside down. Recognizing it as out of the ordinary, Marzeleno made a u-turn to make sure there were no problems at the restaurant.
An upside down flag is recognized as a sign of distress in the military, but once Marzeleno determined that it must have been raised incorrectly either by mistake, or as a sign of disrespect, he became incensed.
“I actually thought it was plain disrespect that someone would raise our own nation’s flag upside down,” Marzeleno told Fox 10 Phoenix.
That’s when he decided to do something about it.
“I actually went to try to lower the flag, but it was knotted in such a way you couldn’t lower it, so I went to the car, I got my knife, and I cut the rope,” he said.
As fate would have it, the franchise owner, Steve Lanini is also a fellow Marine but didn’t take kindly to Marzeleno’s actions.
“Being a Marine myself, and going through the Vietnam War era, we’re gung-ho but we need to curtail our feelings sometimes and take more logical steps than overreact to it,” said Lanini.
Lanini maintained the upside-down flag was a mistake but admitted to fox 10 that he doesn’t know who was responsible for raising it that day.
“If you’re familiar with how you fold a flag, sometimes if you get the hooks wrong, you pull the wrong way and it goes upside down, it’s happened I’m sure over the years and this one wasn’t caught,” he said.
Lanini also said he wished Marzeleno had come to him first before cutting it down so that he could have corrected the situation.
Marzeleno said he just wants them to follow “basic protocol” and “give our own flag respect.”
Many social media users support the direct action taken by Marzeleno. Especially after a picture was posted on Twitter showing a seemingly identical incident – with the American flag hanging upside down – at the same McDonalds in 2013.
—Courtesy of BizPac Review