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Veterans Sue City Over Take Down of Gadsden Flag
Posted By Adan On August 4, 2013 @ 3:21 pm In constitution,Featured Stories,Tile | Comments Disabled
Flag has been in use since Revolutionary War
August 4, 2013
A group of veterans have filed a federal lawsuit against the city of New Rochelle, New York, its mayor and a few of the city’s councilmen after a vote was passed to take down a yellow Gadsden flag they had hoisted over the city’s former armory earlier this year.“The United Veterans Memorial & Patriotic Association of New Rochelle and its president, Peter Parente, are suing the city, Mayor Noam Bramson, the city manager and four City Council members,” reported the Journal News.
In efforts to “honor the veterans who have served and died for our country,” the group is suing the city claiming it “violated its free-speech rights and the state’s Open Meetings Law” when it wrongly assumed the flag implied an association with the Tea Party political group, of which the veterans say none are members.
“Contrary to defendants’ unfounded, subjective (and incorrect) belief, plaintiffs’ intended purpose in flying the Gadsden flag below the Stars and Stripes at the armory was and is not to make a statement in support of the Tea Party,” the lawsuit reportedly says.
As the all-too-familiar flag, emblazoned with the image of a coiled rattlesnake ready to strike and the words “Don’t tread on me,” has become a staple at Tea Party rallies, the city council voted to have it removed late last March on the grounds that it was making a political statement.
The flag actually dates back to the colonial period and has significant historical value.
“That flag is the first flag of the Continental Navy,” Parente told WNBC in March. “Before the red, white and blue stripes of America, that was our American flag,” he said. “That was the flag we fought under in the Revolutionary War to have the America we are today.”
Former New York assemblyman and retired Veterans Affairs commissioner, Ron Tocci, told The Journal News, “It’s a slap in the face, an insult to any veteran that they would try to identify that flag with anything other than what it should be — honoring the service of our people.”
A lawsuit was filed at the Hon. Charles L. Brieant Jr. Federal Building in White Plains on July 26 seeking “nominal and compensatory damages” as well as a court order permitting the flag be flown.
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