An Illinois fire chief sparked a controversy just days before Sept. 11 by refusing to allow firefighters to keep displaying patriotic decals on their helmets and lockers. Some in the Maywood Fire Department flat out refused to follow the order, prompting suspensions and a bitter dispute between the chief and the union.


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“My dad was a fireman for 26 years in Maywood, I took over his locker and on the outside of his locker I have a Marine Corps decal on my locker, it's been there for well over 30 years, I take great offense to that,” said David Flowers Jr., the union president.

The chief eventually abandoned his effort, but the union still wants him out because of how he handled the matter. The chief also offered to give each firefighter a flag sticker for their locker.

His initial ban on all stickers apparently came about because he objected to some other images on the lockers, like one of a monkey smoking.

According to NBC Chicago, the firefighters have since been allowed to return to work.

Four suburban Chicago firefighters claimed they were ordered to go home Tuesday for refusing to remove stickers of American flags after Bronaugh implemented a ban on all stickers.

"I'm floored that he would even consider this two days before 9/11," said firefighter Dan McDowell. "It's ridiculous."

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The firefighters said they were shocked to hear they couldn't keep their patriotic stickers.

"You'd be hard-pressed to find a firefighter who doesn't have strong feelings about 9/11," McDowell said.

Evergito Herrera came to the U.S. from Cuba and said he's been with the department for 25 years. He said American pride is something he cherishes.

"I come from a country where I couldn't do that," he said. "The government would tell me what to do and that's why my parents took me out of Cuba."

The workers have since filed a hostile work environment grievance with their union.

The Outnumbered panel discussed this afternoon, also taking on a story we told you about yesterday in which an Army officer was refused entry into his daughter's school because he was wearing his military uniform.

Watch the discussion above.


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