This July 2020 photo shows Kjersten and Greg Offenecker, the owners of a Civil War-era mansion turned bed and breakfast in St. Johns, Mich. The owners of the bed and breakfast have removed a Norwegian flag outside of their business after being accused of promoting racism from people who think that it is a Confederate flag. Kjersten and Greg Offenecker, owners of The Nordic Pineapple, hung the flag opposite of the American flag after they moved into the Civil War-era mansion in 2018. The red flag, with a blue cross superimposed on a white cross, is a nod to Kjersten Offenbecker’s grandfather, who was born in Norway. (Matthew Dae Smith/Lansing State Journal via AP)

Couple in Confederate flag flap finds Scandinavian solution

August 05, 2020 - 2:50 pm

ST. JOHNS, Mich. (AP) — A couple who came under attack for displaying the Norwegian flag outside their mid-Michigan inn because some observers mistook it for a Confederate flag have found another way to show their Scandinavian pride.

Greg and Kjersten Offenbecker, who own The Nordic Pineapple in St. Johns, outside Lansing, took Norway's flag down last month after being accused of promoting racism, the Lansing State Journal reported.

They are replacing it with a vimple, a type of long, pennant-shaped flag that can be seen displaying bearing various designs across Scandinavia. The Offenbecker’s vimple will have the colors of the Norwegian flag — a red background with a blue cross superimposed on a white cross — in a nod to Kjersten Offenbecker’s grandfather who was born in Norway.

The colors of the Norwegian flag are similar to the Confederate flag, but the patterns and symbols are different. The Confederate flag is red with a blue “X” containing white stars.

After they removed the Norwegian flag last month, people around the globe contacted them and urged them to put it back up, Kjersten Offenbecker said. Many suggested different ways to display the flag. Someone in Norway suggested a vimple, which isn't an official national flag.

Offenbecker said they are often displayed as an alternative to Norway's flag, which traditionally is only displayed during certain times of the day.

“Apparently, when you drive through the countryside this is what you see,” she said.

“When you look at it, it has the feel of the Norwegian flag,” she added. “I’m sure we’ll get a lot of questions about what it is but no one will ever make a judgment about it that’s incorrect.”

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