Suburban firefighters told to remove flags from lockers, helmets

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Some firefighters at a west suburban fire department have been relieved of their duties, for refusing to remove patriotic flags from their lockers and helmets.

Maywood Fire Chief Craig Bronaugh says there's a culture of racism in the department and issued memo saying all decals and stickers, including American flags and military stickers, be removed from lockers and helmets.  He shows a picture of a monkey smoking a cigarette that was taped on a locker, to prove it.

“As a fire chief here, I cannot afford nor tolerate,” he said.

But these firefighters, an African American, a Cuban and two white men, say the chief's allegation of racism couldn't be further from the truth.  That the picture is about ten years old and isn't even up anymore. That it was all a joke between two firefighters.  And that the firefighter in question is now a lieutenant and doesn't have a locker like that.

Those tell WGN the tension started with the chief ordering an American flag be removed from the inside of Fire Station 2. It was a new flag the firefighters had bought with their own money to replace the tattered one that had been there for three years.

When they weren't told why, firefighters put American flags on their lockers.

Then came the memo.

When David Flowers Jr., the union president, wouldn't take down the Marine decal on his locker, the same locker that was his father's, a Maywood firefighter and Vietnam vet, he was relieved of duty and sent home.

“If someone has a problem with a Marine Corps decal,   you take this to heart.  Flag is attached to our uniform,” Flowers Jr said.

The chief says he has nothing against the American flag or veterans.  He just wanted to make a blanket rule that covers everything.

But these firefighters say the American flag is special and off limits.

They have a meeting with Chief Bronaugh at 1pm tomorrow.



    • MaryG

      Time to get rid of A-holes that don’t love America need to get out. If they think they can continue to push this racism time to get out of authority positions…just because Obama is black and president of USA and he has shown racism is okay to get your point going, doesn’t mean it is okay to do. Racism is evil and time to be civil especially on 9/11. They all should be fired and tried for their crimes against the public.

  • Len

    Boy Ill tell you this chief is very lucky he is in “Maywood “.where ever that may be .I have seen some stupid moves in the years i have been in the fire service but this takes the cake .He NEVER got the memo that fire fighters are brothers .Brothers in battle and brothers in life . If he is so thinned skinned .regardless of what color it is he should be come a crossing guard.. Fire Fighters have the absolute right to tease their brothers and joke about them .its part of the culture . Apparently this guy dosent get it what a sissy !

  • Rev Eddie Torres

    What they need is a 21st Century education and let us put the dark ages behind us. I served in the Military and God and Country is everything why I am an American Flag. I own a common wealth we all have a stake in our flag continuing to fly. I hope my recent work in Florida inspires you to save our wavering Flag of a Nation under God.

    Thank you for yesterday for allowing me to present the Foundation of our American Greatness; God and Country, a Nation under God, In God We Trust, our American Way, and our Republic for which we stand. The Student Athletes are a club or a student group with the freedom of assembly to invite speakers to pray with them or for them. I recommend a census be taken of the student athletes to defend any legal challenge. It is unconstitutional to stop a student activity of praying with their quest and in this case being the Chaplain unless you can prove the activity to be disruptive. I insist you allow the Chaplin continue his volunteer service at the request of the student athletes to prevent civil action.

    The Moment of Silence has been in this Boards hands for more then a decade without taking advantage of the benefits because of personal convictions or past experience doubting the power of prayer. The Courts have held a moment of silence to be a State Right and the Florida Legislature through the Florida State Board Regulations to allow up to 2 minutes before each school day or school week for silent prayer and introspection. I would settle for a week to start and take a census in 90 days if they wanted to increase to a daily moment. I will suggest a referendum question on the Moment of Silence to the voters to stop any legal dispute whether you are serving the will of the parents and the students.

    The Theory of Evolution has flaws and the academic challenges of the Big Bang Theory has proven the Universe appeared relatively at the same time and there was no evolution. We have the missing link in Theory of Creation with the historical Jesus who was witnessed by the 5 thousand he feed with a two fish and 3 pieces of bread and the 500 who witnessed His Resurrection and Ascension as reported by the the Roman Historian Josephus to Cesar. Scientist around the world have recognized the Intelligence and complexity of our origins and can not be denied in a 21st century education.

    The students and parents of Florida can teach America a valuable lesson by allowing the referendum questions be placed on a ballot by a resolution by this Board. The Referendum Questions for a Moment of Silence Weekly or Daily, Academic Freedom to discuss Intelligent Design, the Theory of Creation, the Big Bang Theory of a Catholic Priest and the use of the Bible in Literature over Shakespeare can be forced by the Civil Action of a circulated petition to an unresponsive Board of Education. To be or not be an American is a matter choice and the people have a choice who will and what will represent their interest at the ballot box in our free democratic society. We have an Almighty God in Florida who we look towards for a Blessing. God Bless America and our future Generations.
    Always from the heart
    Rev Eddie Torres

  • Kauf Buch

    SO: it the THE CHIEF who sees this monkey as a “black person”…

  • Artem

    The chief of this police department could order “no racist stickers please”. Instead he used a more formal order “no to all stickers” and got ambushed by “patriots”

    • Juan Carbone

      This is just another sad tale of an Affirmative Action appointment to a position of authority who can’t handle the responsibility. The Chief is an idiot who is obsessed with “racism” instead of running an effective department. Kind of like our President..

  • cheyenne

    This is supposed to be America! There have been many people killed protecting our Flag, and still fighting for it today! This Chief of this department , is the person that needs to be fired! He Needs run out of our Country! Sounds as if he has a Problem with our Flag and with our Military! He Needs replaced now.. These guys have done nothing wrong! We As Americans Need to Stand Together, United, and put a Stop to People Like Him! It Is our Right To Display Our Flag any where we want too. It Is Also, Our Right To Display Our Military Banners, It is UNAmerican, To Tell People They cannot display the flag! GO FIGURE! Where Is This A–hole from ??? Replace Him!

  • Glen Herter

    remove an American flag in America , I don’t think so! If my and all Americans flag bothers you get the hell out of my country. Go lay with whatever communistic, terroristic, sadistic, or just sick people your comfortable with. You ARE NOT an AMERICAN. you should be shot where you stand for treason (that means a crime against America). You dumb S.O.B

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