Officials in North Carolina want a Confederate flag removed from a privately owned building used by volunteer firefighters where it's been flying for years, WFMY-TV reported.
Taxpayers fund the operation and the fire trucks at the Uwharrie Volunteer Fire Department, the station said. But the Uwharrie Volunteer Association owns the building in Troy, the Courier-Tribune noted, making the prospect of removing the flag not so simple.
Nevertheless, the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners is officially asking firefighters to take down the Confederate flag, WFMY said.
"The Montgomery County Board of Commissioners respectfully asks the volunteers of the Uwharrie Fire Department to remove the Confederate Flag from the building for which they are defacto stewards," a letter to the station reads, WFMY noted. "We ask you to do so, out of respect for the institution you have so admirably volunteered to serve."
The controversy over the flag has been brewing for some time.
During the 2016 general election a poll worker declined to work at the Uwharrie Fire Department — which was a polling place — because she was offended by the flag, the Courier-Tribune reported, adding that the state Board of Elections has told the county board of elections to find another polling place.
Ray Hudson is part of the Democratic Party of Montgomery County and said he disagrees with the flag flying at the station.
“This is wrong, and it just has to end, and it’s that simple,” he told WNCN-TV in May, adding that "at some point, the county commissioners, if [the fire department does] not want to take the flag down, we need to stop funding them and create another fire station."
Hudson told the Courier-Tribune, “I see bigotry and prejudice becoming the norm. This is historical recidivism. If we don’t learn from the past, we will repeat the same mistakes. The only flag I owe allegiance to is the Stars and Stripes of the United States."
Jackie Morris, chairman of the county Democrats, told WNCN that while he also wants the Confederate flag taken down, he doesn't want officials' actions to disrupt fire service.
Former Commissioner Ralph Bostic brought up the removal of the flag more than a decade ago, WNCN reported.
"The first thing people see when they’re driving into the county from Winston-Salem, or other places, they see a rebel flag," Bostic told WNCN. "That’s not good for the county, the business, the economics, or anything else."
TheBlaze on Wednesday morning attempted to reach the Uwharrie Fire Department by phone for comment, but there was no answer at the station.
(H/T: The American Mirror)