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A Minnesota volunteer firefighter said he’s been suspended for flying a Confederate flag from an engine during a holiday parade.
Brian Nielsen drove a Hartland Fire Department truck in the Third of July Parade in the southern Minnesota city of Albert Lea. He flew both the Confederate and American flags from the back, a move that’s drawn community and social media criticism.
“I’m sick of the politically correctness, because they are trying to change too much in the United States,” Nielsen told KARE 11. “Me raising that flag had nothing to do with slavery. It had nothing to do with disrespect towards our vets. It was more of a statement against the PC.”
Nielsen said he is not racist nor a Confederate sympathizer, but he’s fed up with politicians and businesses trying to remove the Confederate flag from history.
He apologized to the fire department for attaching them to his statement and to parade goers who may have been offended, but he refused to apologize for his message.
“The city of Albert Lea is named after a Confederate soldier. What are they going to change that too?” said Nielsen.
“I thought it was a really unfortunate choice,” said Randy Kehr, executive director of the Albert Lea and Freeborn County Chamber of Commerce, which sponsors the parade.
Kehr said he can recall one other parade entrant years ago with a controversial message regarding immigration, but the city has never had this type of controversy on a public vehicle.
Floats are casually inspected before entering the parade, but public vehicles are not, according to Kehr, who feels the flag has overshadowed the positive annual parade.
For more information, view www.kare11.com