To be fair, you should watch the video from WGN-TV in Chicago before judging. Then, after you watch it, I’m sure you will agree — this fire chief deserves everything that is coming to him.
An Illinois fire chief banned American flags and all other stickers that firefighters had on their lockers, saying that they are images associated with racism in the department.
When four firefighters, one black, one Cuban, and two white men, refused to remove their American flags, they were sent home.
The update that came on the morning of September 11 claims the four firefighters have returned to work and are allowed to have flags on their lockers because the chief is going to put department-issued American flag stickers on all lockers and in every locker room.
Again — this fire chief deserves everything that is coming to him.
In the video, he points to a picture that was posted on one of the lockers of a monkey smoking a cigarette and says, “To see these pictures and to draw the conclusion that there are racist firefighters… I cannot afford or tolerate.”
One might ask, “Why do you have to ‘draw the conclusion’ that the image of a monkey smoking a cigarette has anything at all to do with racism?”
The firefighters say it was a joke between two firefighters, and that it’s so old that one of the men doesn’t even have a locker anymore because he is a Lieutenant.
News of this situation broke in the days before the nation set out to honor the heroes of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks on New York City, Washington D.C., and Pennsylvania on the 13th anniversary of the tragedy.
The timing of the situation was particularly incensing as it centers around the image that symbolizes the sense of security that the September 11 attackers hoped to shred.
For some, it seemed as if it were some kind of publicity stunt for the department, especially the way resolution came on the morning of September 11 this year. However, it’s hard to imagine what benefit could come from the negative publicity, or that anyone, especially public servants, would attempt to use the anniversary of the nation’s greatest loss as an avenue for publicity.
The Chicago Tribune reports that the fire chief says it was all blown out of proportion, but despite what he deems a resolution, hard feelings remain.
“It’s very hurtful and disrespectful the way things turned out,” firefighter David Flowers told the Tribune. “Guys had 9/11 on their helmets. It means a lot to us. Mine has been on since 9/11.”