A veterans group is suing suburban New York officials who banned the historic "Don't Tread on Me" flag from a city-owned armory.
The yellow flag, featuring a coiled rattlesnake and flying just below the Stars and Stripes at the former armory in New Rochelle, N.Y., was raised March 21 and promptly ordered down about a week later by the Democratic council majority, noting complaints from residents that the flag was making a political statement and suggesting it was a Tea Party symbol, The Journal News
The flag has been used as an unofficial symbol of the tea party since at least 2008 and is often seen at party rallies, tax protests and gun rights rallies.
The United Veterans Memorial & Patriotic Association of New Rochelle and its president, Peter Parente, filed suit against the city, Mayor Noam Bramson, the city manager and four City Council members on July 26.
The lawsuit stated the Gadsden flag was meant only to “honor the veterans who have served and died for our country,” foster patriotism in the community and educate the public about the flag.
“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,” Ron Tocci, a former assemblyman and a retired Veterans Affairs commissioner, told The Journal News.
City officials did not return phone calls Friday. The city manager said in April it is up to New Rochelle to determine what flags fly on city-owned property.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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