Firefighters Who Refused To Remove American Flag Decals Are Reinstated

| by Lisa Fogarty

Four firefighters from Chicago who were suspended after they refused to remove American flag stickers from their lockers and helmets were reinstated today.

Just two days before the 13th anniversary of September 11, Maywood Fire Chief Craig Bronaugh came under scrutiny for ordering the men to remove all decals on their lockers, including their patriotic flags, reports WGN-TV. Bronaugh reportedly asked them to remove the decals because he didn’t want to stir up racial tensions – something the four men, who are diverse in their ethnic backgrounds, say isn’t a problem in the fire department, as reported on Opposing Views.

“I’m floored that he would even consider this two days before 9/11,” said firefighter Dan McDowell at the time. “It’s ridiculous.”

The men were sent home after they agreed to remove most of the stickers on their lockers, but stopped short when it came to their flags.

Dave Flowers, Jr. said his sticker has sentimental value. He and his father were the first African-American father and son to serve the community in the Maywood Fire Department. Evergito Herrera, a Cuban immigrant, said he didn’t want to remove his flag sticker because his parents brought him to this country so that he could live in a place where the government doesn’t restrict your right to express yourself.

Bronaugh obviously had a change of heart, though it isn’t clear whether public pressure had anything to do with it. After he reinstated the firefighters, he said, “After review, I made a decision to put department issued flags on every locker and in every locker room.”

But union representatives are still calling for Bronaugh’s resignation and have filed charges with the labor relations board against him for reportedly “creating a hostile work environment.”

Sources: WGN-TV, Opposing Views

Photo Credit: CBS Chicago