American Flag Decals Gets Firefighters Suspended

What’s wrong with displaying an American flag decal anywhere? It’s a sign of patriotism and love for one’s country. Yet four firefighters in Maywood, Illinois received a one day suspension from their jobs for displaying American flag decals on their helmets or on their work locker doors.

Fire Chief Craig Bronaugh ordered all decals removed from helmets and locker doors, but the four men refused to remove the American flag decals. Their union representative met with Bronaugh for over an hour, trying to get the chief to allow the patriotic decals, but when the meeting was over, the four fire fighters were immediately suspended and sent home. The four men are facing possible disciplinary action.

Supposedly, Bronaugh issued the order to remove all decals and photos from helmets and lockers because of a photo taped to one locker door that someone supposedly took to be racially offensive. The photo is of a chimpanzee smoking a cigarette. The firefighter who taped it to a colleague’s locker 10 years ago did it to help his friend stop smoking. There was nothing racial intended by the photo. He told local news:

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“I cut out a picture of a smoking monkey and hung it on a guy’s locker that I was trying to jam up because of his smoking habit, nothing more.”

If the photo has been on the locker for 10 years, then why is it all of a sudden a racial issue? Why hasn’t someone complained about it before now?

The four fire fighters that were suspended said that they were not aware of any racial issues at the fire station. Two of them are white, one is black and one emigrated here from Cuba. They believe the order came down not because of racial issues but because of the disappearance of a new American flag that replaced an old tattered one at one of the fire houses. The order to remove all of the decals and photos, including the American flag ones was issued a week after the new flag disappeared.

Adam Rosen, a spokesman for Service Employees International Union Local 73 said he was ‘shocked’ that the order was given the same week as the anniversary of the September 11 attack on the US. Fire fighters are first responders and played a vital role in the rescue and retrieval of thousands of people on that fateful day and to have Maywood’s first responders ordered to remove the American flag from their helmets and lockers at this time seems very wrong and unpatriotic.

Dave Flowers Jr. was one of the four fighters suspended for refusing to remove his decals. He says it’s very personal to him as he inherited his locker from his father when he retired from the Maywood fire department. His father placed stickers and decals on his locker, one of which is a US Marine Corp decal issued to Vietnam War veterans. Some of the decals on Flowers’ locker have been there for decades and mean a great deal to him.

In many circles today, American patriotism is considered and even taught in our public schools to be wrong. It’s all about globalism, not Americanism. I’ve seen lessons from public school classrooms that are teaching that America is responsible for most of the world’s problems. They teach against our free enterprise system which is what helped build America and made it a world power and leader. Your children are being taught to blame America for poor countries around the world and that it’s our responsibility to share our wealth with them to help bring them up to our standards.

Some schools have gone so far as to raise the Mexican flag above the US flag, especially on Mexican Independence Day, May 5. Students are being disciplined for wearing shirts with American flags, but it’s okay to wear Mexican, Italian, Russian and even Muslim flags on shirts.

I proudly fly my American flag outside my front door every day. One of my most prized possessions is the American flag that flew on board my dad’s ship during World War 2. The flag flew during the battles of Saipan and Bougainville. When they decommissioned the ship after the war, the ship’s captain presented the flag to my dad, which was a great honor for an enlisted man.

I stand with the four fighters in Maywood and hope that they continue to refuse to remove the symbol of our once great nation from their helmets and lockers. I encourage every fire fighter in Maywood and every other city and county in the country to join them by displaying the American flag on their helmets and lockers.

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