City of New Rochelle Removes Unauthorized "Don't Tread on Me" Flag from Armory After Complaints

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City of New Rochelle Removes Unauthorized "Don't Tread on Me" Flag from Armory After Complaints

March 27, 2013 - 20:52

GadsenFlag Armory 729

UPDATE: As of 6 p.m. Wed. March 27th, Talk of the Sound is reliably informed the Gadsden flag is flying over the Armory.

NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- New Rochelle City Manager Charles B. Strome has directed the City's Department of Public Works to remove a Gadsden flag that was raised along with an American flag during a flag retirement ceremony last Thursday.

Notice was sent earlier today to Peter Parente, President, United Veterans Memorial & Patriotic Association - New Rochelle.

Mr. Parente:

I have received numerous complaints relative to the yellow flag (pictured below) that was hung underneath the American Flag at the Armory. The complaints are that the flag is a political flag with a political message. I am not sure exactly what the flag is or what it represents but in your email to me relative to the ceremony last week, you only mentioned that you would be replacing the American Flag and never mentioned this flag. I have been advised by several people that this flag is a Tea Party Flag.

The purpose of this email is to advise you that I have directed the City’s Department of Public Works to remove this flag from the Armory flagpole. You may contact DPW to pick up the flag.

Chuck Strome
City Manager

Strome is referring to an email sent to him on March 20th.

Mr City Manager,

Just want to pass along that the United Veterans of New Rochelle will be retiring our tattered Nations Colors at The Armory on E Main Street Thursday 3/21 @ 6 PM.

We will donate a brand new 5' x 8' Flag and also will install a new solar panel light to illuminate OLD GLORY. The service should only take us 15-20 min's and we expect approximately dozen people. Councilman Trangucci thought it would be best to let you know and mentioned something about an "Open Air" permit??

Peter Parente
UVMPA-NR President

Gadsden flagWikipedia has the following descriptions of the flag:

The Gadsden flag is a historical American flag with a yellow field depicting a rattlesnake coiled and ready to strike. Positioned below the snake are the words "Don't tread on me". The flag was designed by and is named after American general and statesman Christopher Gadsden. It was also used by the Continental Marines as an early motto flag, along with the Moultrie Flag.

Considered one of the first flags of the United States, the flag was later replaced by the current Stars and Stripes (or Old Glory) flag. Since the Revolution, the flag has seen times of reintroduction as a symbol of American patriotism, a symbol of disagreement with government, or a symbol of support for civil liberties.

Since the first Patriot Day on September 11, 2002, which commemorates the lives lost in the September 11 attacks, The rattlesnake from the flag is also shown on the U.S. Army's Drill Sergeant Identification Badge. After the Snake On Stripes Flag became the Navy's symbol for the Global War on Terrorism, flag history professionals (vexiologists) have done extensive research papers that further question the claim that the flag ever flew during the American Revolution, yet though a "Fake Snake Flag", it continues to fly at the bow of American warships today.

Beginning in 2007 at Ron Paul rallies, the Gadsden Flag has been adopted as a symbol of the American Tea Party movement.[12][13][14][15] It was also displayed by members of Congress at Tea Party movement rallies.[16] Some lawmakers have called it a "political symbol" because of this association.

This sort of thing has been tried before -- removing or barring the Gadsden Flag because it has, in the past few years been associated with The Tea Party -- and it has invariably become a First Amendment issue with the ACLU siding with those seeking to display the flag. Here are a few examples from around the United States:

Rhode Island: Historic flag back up after controversy

Connecticut: Connecticut Marines Fight for 'Don't Tread on Me' Flag Display

Arizona: Gadsden flag now permitted by Home Owner Associations

There are 6 Comments

It is amazing how everyone complains about a Don't tread on me flag flying on the ARMORY under the AMERICAN FLAG when the CITY of NEW ROCHELLE, IONA COLLEGE and every politician in this county and city disregarded the MOBIL GAS STATION on NORTH AVENUE near IONA flying the AMERICAN FLAG like a RAG hanging from the canopy over the gas pumps years ago. DID ANYONE complain then???? NO. Did the MAYOR say anything??? NO. Did the scholars of IONA say anything NO. WHO DID ??? The people who know what the flag means did. Peter Parente, Ron Tocci, And Steve Didonato did. We approached the owners of the gas station and asked that it be placed properly or removed and they refused. So we picketed with our flag until they removed it and till this very day have not flown the American Flag at that station for WHAT REASON???? Go and ask them.

Anything having to do with the Armory that might be construed as supportive continues to be attacked, derailed or sabotaged. The shame of it is in the dismissive attitude applied to the local veterans wishing to contribute to the growth and civic pride of New Rochelle and the role played by the very people who walked through the doors of this building. This is a piece of history that is one of a kind in this city. There are plenty of historic houses, places of worship and others, but only one Armory. One singular place where people walked through its doors to shape world history. Who will speak for those who never returned, who will remember the sacrifice of youth? Little by little these places are lost for some imagined "higher purpose" and in doing so, waters down the importance of the commitment to being an American. Don't let that happen here.

This flag has not been granted the exclusive trademark of any organization. This flag represents, at least to those not bogged down by partisan politics, the free spirit, commitment to personal liberty, and intrinsic guarantee of free speech that formed the building blocks of this great country. Are we to turn our backs on founding principals to accommodate those who care little about the sacrifices made that allows for their narrow view of the world?

The Ku Klux Klan displays the Stars and Stripes, should we take down every flag displayed around the country? I didn't think so.

The hypocrisy of the conversation about forcing this flag to be taken down is clearly evident. Time and time again, this administration has revealed it's contempt for anything positive about the Armory. When a thousand people ask only to be given a chance to demonstrate what local, grass root activism can do to grow New Rochelle from within, the administration wouldn't give the time of day. Yet, somehow a couple of narrow minded, bootlickers cry to the city manager and lo and behold, the city is suddenly concerned about it's citizenry being offended by, of all things, a piece of American history. You know what? WE are offended. Offended by the callous manipulations that thwart anything that doesn't fit into the self serving agenda of this administration.
We may not be able to stop the atrocious behavior of the current administration, but WE hold THIS truth to be self evident - Don't Tread on Me

...the mayor of New Rochelle and the City Council led their neighbors as they lined the streets from the Armory to the New Rochelle train station, to send off a detachment of Navy and U.S. Marine Corp. enlisted, and reserve officers, to the South Pacific.

Many of those men never came home.

Thank you John, for this excellent piece of writing, for your passion and your expertise in describing the disgraceful shame of these self serving hacks.

The Gadsden flag was chosen as a response to constantly being dismissed and denied by the City Government. it is a stern warning not to tread on our veterans and on this building, this is our land, and it is the last remaining piece or irreplaceable New Rochelle military history and her contributions to the cause of human liberty. why is the city government against its people for something that rightfully belongs to its people., they are supposed to be representing the will of the people. well we the people had had enough. DONT TREAD ON ME!

I have a hunch that if some group put up a flag to honor Hugo Chavez, there'd probably be only two on the Council against it. I'd feel safe betting my life on that.
UN Agenda 21

The attack on the Gadsden Flag today is merely the beginning!!! This is censorship in your face.