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Dem lawmaker pushes FDNY to remove 'politically charged' thin red line American flag honoring 9/11 responders
Photo by Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Dem lawmaker pushes FDNY to remove 'politically charged' thin red line American flag honoring 9/11 responders

The New York City Fire Department's Ladder Company 11 was recently ordered to remove its thin red line American flag honoring responders killed in the September 11, 2001, attack on the World Trade Center, the New York Post reported.

The department issued the order on March 22 after Democratic Manhattan Councilwoman Carlina Rivera's office confronted Ladder Company 11 about the so-called politically charged symbol.

In an email dated March 19, Rivera's office asked the FDNY whether the firehouse displayed a flag with "political symbols."

"I'm reaching out on behalf of a constituent of ours regarding a thin blue/red line flag on Ladder 11 last week (and earlier on Jan 20th)," Rivera's office wrote to the department. "When asked about the meaning, they claimed it was to honor deceased firefighters, however he brought up that they could've used an FDNY flag rather than a politically charged symbol."

"It is both his and our understandings that private political symbols aren't permitted to be displayed on public vehicles," her office continued. "Can you confirm if there are any violating flags/symbols on Ladder 11?"

The flag was displayed on the firehouse's fire truck, next to a memorial placard honoring six men — Lt. Michael Quilty and firefighters Michael Cammarata, Edward Day, John Hefferman, Richard Kelly Jr., and Matthew Rogan — who were killed on 9/11.

Sources told the Post that a man claiming to be one of Rivera's staffers arrived at the firehouse a few days after the email demanding to know why the flag was still flying, calling it a "fascist symbol," the sources claimed.

The confrontation with the alleged staffer prompted FDNY Deputy Chief Joseph Schiralli to visit the firehouse and request responders remove it from the fire truck, noting that it violated the department's ban on "altered" versions of the American flag. Sources told the Post that the prohibition was enacted in 2020 by then-Commissioner Daniel Nigro and then-First Deputy Commissioner Laura Kavanagh amid Black Lives Matter's anti-police movement.

The Post reported that Schiralli was reluctant to order the flag's removal, calling the requirement "ridiculous."

A Ladder Co. 11 firefighter told the news outlet, "This flag has huge significance for us."

"I wish [Rivera's office] would have come at it like 'Hey, we want to learn about the flag and what it represents' before they asked for it to be taken down,'" another firefighter stated.

Rivera told the Post that the initial complaint was from a constituent and not one of her staffers.

"We have heard nothing further from the FDNY and have taken no additional action on this matter," Rivera stated, referring to the email sent by her office. "My relationship with Ladder 11 has always been strong."

Hours after the removal was ordered, now-Commissioner Kavanagh and Chief of Department John Hodgens reversed the decision, allowing the flag to be displayed once again.

A Ladder 11 firefighter told the Post, "We're happy with the outcome of this — but we're offended it happened in the first place."

New York City Councilwoman Joann Ariola (R) responded to the news on X, writing, "I want to extend a deep personal thank you to @FDNY Chief of Department John Hodgens for taking a bold stand and ordering the thin red line flag to be put back up at Ladder 11 last week."

"We are living in a time of increasing political pressure to adhere to certain ideologies - ideologies that seek to censor and shame anyone or anything that might dare to disagree with their positions. Chief Hodgens showed great personal courage by defying the will of certain loud radicals in government, and restoring that flag even when political forces were being arrayed against him," Ariola continued. "Thank you, Chief Hodgens, for doing what was right. May that honor and bravery become contagious, and spread throughout our city. We certainly need it."

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Candace Hathaway

Candace Hathaway

Candace Hathaway is a staff writer for Blaze News.
@candace_phx →