Right Hooks

Old Glory Stripped From Town's Fire Trucks

Committee calls a patriotic gesture a "liability."

Jordan Candler · Aug. 18, 2016

Firefighters put their lives on the line every day. According to the National Fire Protection Association, last year the nation lost 68 on-duty firefighters. Their public service is a testament to their character, sacrifice, honor and love of country. But when New York’s Arlington Fire District patriotically installed American flags on three of its fire trucks, the gesture was not universally embraced. In fact, this week the Arlington Board of Fire Commissioner made the deplorable decision to strip flags from the vehicles.

According to the Poughkeepsie Journal, “Arlington Fire Commissioner Chairman Jim Beretta said the board majority feel the flags are a ‘liability during normal operations for our people and other motorists,’ and that the board had not been consulted before the flags were mounted.” Yet other districts have installed flags. The report goes on to note, “William H. Beale, a public information officer for Hughsonville Fire Department in Wappingers Falls, said the department has flown flags on the rear of its trucks since the 9/11 attacks.” He added, “9/11 was the largest loss of firefighters’ lives in any single incident. Flying the flag on the back of a fire apparatus has become a tradition.” But desecrating our flag has become a newfound tradition, too. Can you imagine Mayor Rudy Giuliani banning flags from fire trucks in the aftermath of 9/11? The backlash would have been deafening. Enough Americans have rallied behind the Arlington firefighters that the committee is revisiting its decision, but the fact this is even a dispute is troubling.

Lest you think this is an isolated event, Fox News’ Todd Starnes reminds us: “Firefighters in Riverside, California, were told to remove the U.S. flag in July. And a Rhode Island fire department commissioner made national headlines when he said it is un-American to post flags on fire trucks. He also referred to firefighters as terrorists.” What a horrible way to honor the brave souls of those who responded to actual terrorists on 9/11.

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