City of Seminole flag flap leads to protest - FOX 13 News

City of Seminole flag flap leads to protest

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Deborah Fender was among a handful of protesters who took part in Sunday's protest in Seminole. Deborah Fender was among a handful of protesters who took part in Sunday's protest in Seminole.

Red, white and "betrayed," is how Deborah Fender described herself Sunday afternoon as she stood along a busy intersection in Seminole.

She was among a group of a dozen or so protestors who spent an hour outside one of the city's fire stations flying an American Flag.

Fender's actions were in response to a decision by Seminole officials prohibiting the flying of ‘Old Glory,' from city fire trucks.

Steven Hirschfield, a retired Seminole firefighter, stood alongside Fender on Sunday.

"There was an order from the chief to remove all flags from the apparatus," Hirschfield explained during Sunday's protest.

Current employees of the Seminole Fire Department are prohibited from speaking on the record to members of the media. 

Privately they say someone complained about a flag being displayed from the back of a ladder truck. After it was removed city leaders apparently received a second complaint about smaller flags being displayed from truck windows.

The order prompted Dave Dabney of the Tampa Bay Troop Support Group to organize Sunday's protest. 

"My goal today is they say 'yes' the flags are going back on the trucks," Dabney said. "Yes we have a solution."

Neither the mayor nor the fire chief returned phone calls made by Fox 13 to their offices.

Fire departments nationwide began flying large American flags immediately after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on our country. 

Hundreds of New York City firefighters were killed when two hijacked planes flew into the World Trade Centers. 

"To be able to fly the flag and support our country, it should be a right," Fender added.

Alison Shanabrook, a spokesperson for Seminole Fire Rescue, said the city did receive a complaint that the flag was being "inappropriately displayed."

In a statement released to the media Shanabrook says: "[The] City is trying to be sensitive to the proper display of the American flag," and she pointed out the flag is part of the standard firefighter uniform. 

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