I heard a child ask his mother this not long ago. It’s a good question. The answer is, an upside-down flag is a distress signal. It’s a serious thing, a cry for help. It means somebody is in trouble, often a whole lot of somebodys. It means something is wrong and needs to be fixed. It means the ship is sinking, the fort is burning. This is not a frivolous gesture, and should never be used as such. Nobody anywhere should ever, ever display a flag upside down unless they really mean it! Below is another example of an upside down flag. It’s here so you remember what not to do. Not unless you are absolutely certain that a situation fully qualifies as an imminent disaster! Not unless something is definitely circling the drain!
Here are some places where you can learn more about this revered symbol: