East Fishkill, NY - Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor (R,C,I - East Fishkill) is calling on the Arlington Fire District Board of Commissioners to rescind their order to remove American flags) flying from the back of the district's fire trucks.
"When I was on the front lines in the early days of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the first time we had mail call I received an American flag from my father," said Lalor. "We put that flag up in the platoon area. Every time we moved to a new position we always put up the flag. The other platoons wrote home and asked for flags. Soon each platoon in our company had an American flag. We displayed the flag because our flag was an incredible source of pride, strength, inspiration and unity. No doubt the firefighters flew our flag on their trucks for the same reasons. They should be able to continue to fly our flag."
Lalor added, "I have spoken with firefighters and fire experts and they have told me that there are no safety issues or potential operational problems posed by flying the flag on fire trucks. The flag is a symbol of unity that shouldn't be used to divide. The flags need to go back up." The board had suggested that the flags were removed because of liability concerns and the distraction they might present to motorists. Lalor consulted with experts who disagreed with the board's rationale.
The flags had been mounted at the suggestion of the fire union, and the idea was supported by Fire Chief Tony Gallante. On Monday, the Board of Fire Commissioners met and decided to remove the flags by a count of 3-2. The flags were taken down on Tuesday.