Firefighter suspended for flying Confederate flag during July 4th parade

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A volunteer firefighter in Minnesota says he has been suspended after flying the Confederate flag during a parade for the Fourth of July.

Brian Nielsen drove a Hartland Fire Department truck during the Third of July parade, and he flew both the Confederate and the American flag from the back of the truck.

“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.”

Although he apologized to the department for dragging them in with his message, he did not apologize and said that he was tired of the flag being erased from history.

“The city of Albert Lea is named after a Confederate soldier. What are they going to change that too?” said Nielsen.

The city has never seen this kind of controversy on a public vehicle, though the parade in the past had seen one participant espousing a controversial immigration message.

“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.

“The flag flying on the city of Hartland fire truck becomes the city of Heartland statement just like that flag in our parade has unfortunately become a statement about Albert Lea and our parade. Neither of those things should apply, and the only way to avoid that is to not do that,” said Kehr.