The Newton firefighters union is taking legal action against the city after Mayor Ruthanne Fuller ordered that only the American flag and Newton banners should be displayed on city buildings, forcing them to take down a firefighters remembrance flag.
Newton Firefighters Association is disputing the mayor’s decision after the Thin Red Line flag, which is used to remember fallen firefighters, was ordered removed from the inside of Station 4 where it has hung for the 2 1/2 years, according to Newton TAB.
The flag is used to remember the firefighters “who sacrificed so much to protect their communities,” union President Marc Rizza said in a statement obtained by the newspaper. “Keeping alive the memory of those who gave their all is a deep part of who we are.”
Roughly 200 people protested outside the station Monday night, according to a separate article from the TAB.
“I’m one of 24 councilors and I felt the need to come down here and let everybody know that I didn’t agree with this,” City Council Vice President Rick Lipof said during the protest. “The mayor, who is working 17 hours a day and doing a great job, makes a lot of quick decisions right now, and I think this one (was) a little too quick.”
A statement from the city notes that the mayor understands the significance of the flag.
“This is not about this particular flag,” the statement said. “Rather, this is about not putting the City in a position of censoring/endorsing which banners and ideas put forward by our employees will be on the sides of our buildings.”