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An East Village ladder company was recently asked to remove its red line American flag honoring the squad’s six brothers killed on 9/11. A neighborhood resident allegedly complained that the flag was seen as a “politically charged symbol.” Sources claimed that on March 22nd, a man claiming he was a staffer for Democratic Manhattan Councilwoman Carlina Rivera, confronted the firefighters asking them to remove the flag. The man said that the councilwoman’s office complained to the FDNY three days earlier about the flag, where they did not respond to the complaints. The flag in question is an American flag with a red stripe in honor of fallen firefighters who have lost their lives in the line of duty. According to sources, the man called the flag a “fascist symbol” and wanted to know why the flag was still up. In an email from March 19th, to FDNY Intergovernmental Affairs Coordinator Madison Hernandez, Rivera staffer Lisander Rosario said the councilwoman’s office was contacted by the “constituent” twice about the ladder company’s flag and asked if it’s violating department rules. “[FDNY staff] claimed it was to honor deceased firefighters, however, [the constituent] brought up that they could’ve used an FDNY flag rather than a politically charged symbol,” Rosario wrote. “It is to both his and our understanding that private political symbols aren’t permitted to be displayed on public vehicles.”

After the man left the firehouse, FDNY Deputy Chief Joseph Schiralli visited the firefighters there and said the flag must come off the fire truck because it violated a department prohibition of “altered” versions of the American flag. Schiralli told the firefighters that he agreed that the rule was “ridiculous.” The rule was implemented in 2020 by then-Commissioner Daniel Nigro and then-First Deputy Commissioner Laura Kavanagh. Hours later, now-Commissioner Kavanagh and Chief of Department John Hodgens reversed the rule and allowed the flag back on the truck. “We’re happy with the outcome of this — but we’re offended it happened in the first place,” said a Ladder 11 firefighter. “This flag has huge significance for us.”

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