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American Flags To Be Replaced On Arlington Fire Trucks

Smaller American flags will be added to all Arlington Fire District frontline trucks following a meeting on Thursday.
Smaller American flags will be added to all Arlington Fire District frontline trucks following a meeting on Thursday. Photo Credit: Supporters of Arlington Fire/Facebook/Michael Skapetis

ARLINGTON, N.Y. -- Following a controversy over the order to remove American flags from the back of Arlington Fire District fire trucks that garnered national media coverage, a decision has been made to add the flags back to the trucks.

During a meeting on Thursday, Arlington Fire Chief Tory Gallante, Board of Fire Commissioners Chairman Jim Beretta, and Joseph Tarquinio, president of Arlington Professional Fire Fighters Association, came to an agreement to use smaller flags on each frontline engine at district stations, according to a statement from the group.

The new, smaller flags, two-foot by three-foot, will be added to the front of each frontline truck -- the main trucks used when responding to incidents -- in the near future.

The statement said "safety concerns and compliance with the United States Flag Code, as well as both parties' unwavering allegiance to and respect for the nation's flag, were the guiding principles to this resolution."

The original flags were added to the trucks at the request of the union . They were removed after Beretta, along with commission members Joseph Armstrong and Jose Seco, voted to remove the flags for what they called "liability reasons," and because they had not been consulted before the flags were installed.

A public backlash flourished following the vote to remove the flag with national news media picking up the story and packing the Arlington Fire Department headquarters with news vans and reporters. Residents were up in arms as well, starting a Change.org petition, protesting online and with a public rally.

A meeting followed were it was decided that one truck could fly the flag until another meeting could be held.

"The flags will be positioned in a way as to not interfere with the access and functions of the fire equipment," the statement said.

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