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.
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.
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??
Wikipedia 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. It was also displayed by members of Congress at Tea Party movement rallies. 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