Patriotism is alive and well in New York. Removal of the flags from three fire trucks sparked such a national uproar that The Arlington Fire District has agreed to return them.
When the large 4×6 American flags were labeled a “distraction” and a “liability” and removed from three Arlington Fire District Trucks in Poughkeepsie, New York earlier this month, the department was inundated with phone calls and emails from across the nation, as well as upset residents in their local communities.
As a compromise, a new 3×5 flag was installed on just one fire engine Thursday, August 18, but the townspeople were not having it. The Poughkeepsie Journal reported that by 6:30 that evening, about 50 people were rallying outside the fire headquarters, carrying flags and chanting, “all the flags, not one!”
One week later, all the flags are coming back, in a new compromise announced by the fire department. They will re-install smaller, 2×3 flags on the three most frequently used fire engines, citing they have discussed “concerns and compliance with the United States Flag Code, as well as both parties’ unwavering allegiance to and respect for the Nation’s flag,” according to a joint statement from the Fire Chief, the Fire Commissioners Chairman and the Arlington Fire Fighters Association.
“The flags will be positioned on the trucks in a way that does not interfere with the access and functions of the fire equipment,” they stated.
Fire Chief Tory Gallante said it’s likely the flags will be installed one at a time, but no date has been set yet.
Not all residents are interested in the matter:
“This is like the battle that spawned ‘The Star Spangled Banner,’ except ridiculous and uninteresting,” said Brian Lawrence, a Poughkeepsie resident.
But others are not only passionate about keeping the flags – they haven’t forgiven the people who removed them to start with:
“The flag should never of been taken down,” said George Schappert of Wappingers Falls. “I still feel those (commissioners) need to be removed.”
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