Over the weekend the Seattle Times jumped at a news tip: there was a Confederate flag flying beneath the American flag in the city’s Greenwood neighborhood, and residents were very concerned.
Only, it turns out, it wasn’t the Confederate flag at all. It was the state flag of Norway, and a group of friendly Norwegians were just trying to show their patriotism and support for their Olympic Team when their very concerned neighbors contacted local media.
“Hi. Suddenly there is a Confederate flag flying in front of a house in my Greenwood neighborhood. It is at the north-east corner of 92nd and Palatine, just a block west of 92nd and Greenwood Ave N.,” the tipster wrote, according to the Times. “I would love to know what this ‘means’ … but of course don’t want to knock on their door. Maybe others in the area are flying the flag? Maybe it’s a story? Thank you.”
Eager to get the scoop, reporters for the Seattle Times hopped into a car and hightailed it to view the offending flag for themselves. Only, it turned out, they weren’t in for quite the controversial sighting they’d anticipated.
“That’s a Norwegian flag,” said the Norwegian owner of the flagpole in question. “It’s been up there since the start of the Olympics.”
“I’m a proud Norwegian-American. My parents emigrated here in the mid-1950s. He skippered tugboats,” the man continued.
Indeed, Norwegians have something to be proud of. The country leads the Winter Olympics medal count with a staggering 35 medals, 13 of which are gold (they’re currently tied for the most gold medals with Germany). The Norwegians are on track to breaking the Olympic record for most medals won by a single country in a single Olympic games.
Perhaps embarrassed by their fellow residents, the Seattle Times was quick to note that other people have confused the Norwegian red-and-blue banner for the Confederate stars-and-bars. There was an incident last year in New York, the Seattle Times points out, were a group of residents complained loudly to city hall about a Confederate flag seen flying in their own neighborhood. The woman flying the flag was also, unsurprisingly, a Norwegian transplant, who had never even seen the Confederate flag before.