FIREFIGHTERS ORDERED TO REMOVE AMERICAN FLAG STICKERS – DAYS BEFORE 9/11!

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Fire chief claimed stickers might be racially insensitive…

“I’m floored that he would even consider this two days before 9/11,” firefighter Dan McDowell told NBC Chicago. “It’s ridiculous.”

A former marine, whose father had served in the same fire department for 26 years and whose locker he had inherited, was among those suspended after he refused to remove his father’s Marine Corps decal sticker.

“We are the first African-American father and son on the Maywood Fire Department,” firefighter Dave Flowers told NBC. “It has sentimental value.”

Yesterday, following public uproar, Chief Bronaugh announced a reversal of his sticker ban and reinstated the suspended firefighters.

“After review, I made a decision to put department issued flags on every locker and in every locker room,” Bronaugh stated at a press conference, claiming the firefighters blew the order out of proportion.

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But the damage had already been done. The chief’s ban was ill-timed, occurring during the week of the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, and many saw the ban as an encroachment on free speech.

“I come from a country where I couldn’t do that,” firefighter and Cuban immigrant Evergito Herrera said. “The government would tell me what to do and that’s why my parents took me out of Cuba.”

Now the firefighters’ union has filed a complaint with the Illinois Labor Relations Board alleging the fire chief refused to cooperate with their efforts to diffuse the situation early on, and claiming the chief stifled the firefighters’ First Amendment rights.

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“It’s about freedom of speech, and there should be nothing wrong with them expressing their patriotism,” said Adam Rosen, a union spokesperson.

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Additionally, the labor union is now asking the fire chief to resign.

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