Nordic Pineapple Bed and Breakfast

Nordic Pineapple Bed and Breakfast
A Michigan couple took down a Norwegian flag from outside their bed and breakfast because it was regularly mistakenly as a symbol of the Confederacy.

Greg and Kjersten Offenecker, who own The Nordic Pineapple in St. Johns, said they removed both the Norwegian flag and an American flag posted outside their Civil War-era mansion last week following accusations of promoting racism in the largely conservative Michigan town.

The couple made the move after receiving "at least a dozen hateful emails" and twice as many comments about it, Kjersten Offenbecker told the Lansing State Journal.

"I don't see it because I grew up with the Norwegian flag," she told the newspaper. "To me they are two distinct flags."

The couple, who bought the nearly 9,000-square-foot mansion built in 1861 two years ago, started flying the Norwegian flag shortly after taking over the property. Kjersten Offenbecker said they were still new in town when the owner of a downtown shop relayed to her that someone had mistaken the Norwegian flag as a Confederate one.

"We were panicked initially because we were like, 'Oh my gosh. This town thinks that we're hanging the Confederate flag," said Kjersten, whose grandfather was born in Norway.

Both flags have the same colors, although their patterns and symbols differ - the Norwegian flag features a blue Scandinavian cross, while the Confederate flag is comprised of a blue "X" with white stars.
The Confederate and Norwegian Flag

The Confederate Flag and Norwegian flag
Greg Offenbecker, a Navy vet who served in Desert Storm, said he was dumbfounded that some people regularly confused the two flags.

"It bugs me as far as the stupidity of people," he told the newspaper. "Even if the flag is blowing in the wind or laying limp, there are no stars on it. They look nothing alike."

Kjersten Offenbecker announced the move in a July 20 statement on the bed and breakfast's Facebook page, saying the removal was necessary given the "current cultural climate" and judgment by others based on their misconceptions.

"I urge people to slow down and see the world through less jaded glasses," she wrote. "When we think of the worst before we have all the facts, we lose sight of all of [the] good [that's] out there that we should find. If you got to know us you would see that we are very proud Americans and very patriotic."

Offenbecker also noted that she and her husband have adopted two black children whom they've taught "not to judge on first glance or outward appearances."

Some St. Johns residents, meanwhile, have since urged the couple to start flying their Norwegian flag again, but they're refusing to do so unless there's a way to make sure it won't be mistaken again for a Confederate one, the Lansing State Journal reports.

"We've gotten a lot of support since taking it down but we took it down because we weren't getting support," Kjersten Offenbecker told the newspaper.