NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A Westchester County veterans group was not staying quiet this week over the removal of a flag at the New Rochelle armory.
As WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reported, the “Don’t Tread on Me” flag, also known as the Gadsden flag, has been flying over a vacant armory building.
The New Rochelle City Council ordered the flag taken down earlier this week, over fears that it may be seen as political.
But Peter Parente, president of the New Rochelle United Veterans Memorial and Patriotic Association, said the flag was used during the American Revolution and is of great historical significance.
“(The City Council) compared it to the rainbow coalition flag; they compared it to the Confederate Flag from down South,” Parente said.
“The only flags that fly on city flagpoles are the United States flag, the state flag and the city flag,” said City Manager Chuck Strome. “Anything else needs permission, and it wasn’t granted.”
Strome earlier told CBS 2 that some on the City Council perceive the flag to be divisive.
“Some members of the public and city council have felt that flag was adopted by the Tea Party and took offense to having a political statement on public property,” Strome said.
The building hasn’t been used for decades, and city officials said even though it was once used by the military, they reserve the authority to decide what flies above it.
Some members of the city council who voted against the flag said they have been receiving racially charged hate mail since the decision. The veterans’ group said it condemns any offensive and hate-filled backlash.
The veterans this weekend were pushing a possible legal avenue to fly the flag again.
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