Social media has run rampant after American flags were removed from three fire trucks on Tuesday.
Many union members expressed extreme disappointment.
During a meeting this Monday, Arlington Fire Chief Tory Gallante was forced to remove the flags from three different trucks. Gallante was ordered to complete this act after receiving the order from the Board of Fire Commissioners.
Chief Gallante did not comment specifically about the reasoning that led to the decsion but expressed he is “very disappointed with their direction”.
Jim Beretta is the Arlington Fire Commissioner Chairman. Beretta said that the board majority came to the conclusion that the flags are a,
“liability during normal operations for our people and other motorists”.
He also shared that he and the board were not consulted before the flags were put up.
The flags were removed during a special ceremony at the Arlington headquarters.
The Ultimate Decision
The issue was reportedly heavily discussed at Monday’s meeting. Beretta made sure to mention, “each board member gave their opinion”.
A few board members “had no problem with it as long as it was safe and not in the way of operations,” Beretta added. However more than a few board members “did have a problem with it for normal operations, citing liability and distraction to other motorists.”
Gallante and many others are disappointed with the ultimate decision. However they have received a massive amount of support online.
The department has received waves of messages that completely disagree with the board’s decision.
“I think (for) a lot of people … (the issue) crosses political lines, moral lines, religious lines,” Tarquinio said. “It’s the flag of this country.”
The firefighters union originally approached Gallante with the request.
Gallante allowed the union to put flags on the trucks. This was allowed as long as they were properly secured.
It was “at their (the union’s) cost … the flags were placed on the vehicles,” Gallante said. The flags were “checked by our mechanics to make sure” they were safely secured.
Many hope that the outcry from social media will push the board to reconsider.