Veteran flies American flag upside down to signal distress for Florida waters

Posted at 12:34 AM, Aug 24, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-24 12:58:36-04

SARASOTA, Fla., -- An Army veteran chose to fly an American flag upside down as a cry for help when it comes to Florida's waters. Some believe that the upside down flag is disrespectful, but he says it's a normal military distress call.

"This isn’t Florida," said veteran Nathan Lawson describing the mountain of dead fish packed into Sara Bay Marina in Sarasota. "The way it smells now isn’t how it smells normally. I’ve smelled better things in Iraq.”

Lawson says in the military when in need of immediate help, an S.O.S would be to fly the flag upside down. He says that is how he feels seeing all the dead fish from the toxic algae and from red tide.

RELATED: Wildlife advocate stunned by the toll on dead fish from red tide

“I grew up fishing on these waters, I don’t ever remember seeing dead sharks. I don’t ever remember seeing this much death period.”

The veteran says this is personal because his father and grandfather, both military veterans, owned a bait shop. He says even though they've passed, the water crisis would have put them out of business.

“They’d be beside themselves…. They really would.”

According to officials, over 2,000 tons of dead fish have been collected throughout Florida.