ANN ARBOR, MI – Peter Parente, President of the United Veterans Memorial & Patriotic Association of New Rochelle, New York (“Veterans”) (UVMPA-NR) announced that UVMPA has retained the Thomas More Law Center (TMLC), a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, to regain the right to fly the historic Gadsden Flag under the Stars and Stripes. Peter Parente is a prior active service Marine.
The Gadsden Flag, bright yellow bearing a coiled rattlesnake and the phrase “Don’t Tread on Me”, is steeped in our Nation’s history going back to its founding. It has been used by both the Marines and the Navy since 1775. The Marine Corps still flies it under the Stars and Stripes on some of its installations. And the Navy still flies it or a version of it on its warships. However, the New Rochelle City Council confiscated the flag because they claim it has right wing connections and is a symbol of the Tea Party.
Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Law Center commented, “Their outrageous decision to confiscate a cherished symbol of our War for Independence smacks of pure partisan politics. Many Americans fought and died for our independence under that flag, and the Law Center will take available means to return the Gadsden Flag back on the Veterans’ flag pole. As one Revolutionary War hero said, we ‘have just begun to fight.’”
Continued Thompson, “Using the City Council’s reasoning, they would remove the Stars and Stripes from flagpoles because both Democrat and Republican Parties, as well as most political candidates, use the Stars and Stripes in their campaign messaging.”
On March 21, 2013, at an official ceremony, the Veterans unfurled a new Stars and Stripes Flag to replace a tattered one and underneath the Stars and Stripes, the Gadsden Flag. The site of the controversy is the New Rochelle Armory, which at one time was a NY State Naval Militia Armory and a training facility for both Navy and Marines beginning in the 1930s until the 1990’s. Over a half a century ago, The City of New Rochelle chartered the Veterans Society which is now known as the UVMPA to formally conduct Veterans Services Honoring its Veterans & the care of memorials and monuments throughout the city. When appropriate, the UVMPA has cared for and has accepted responsibility for upkeep and maintenance of the Armory Flag and Memorials.
Within a week of the flag raising ceremony, City Manager Chuck Strome ordered Parente to take down the Gadsden Flag because unidentified complainants told him that the flag was a Tea Party symbol. But Strome changed his mind after Parente provided him links to the the history of the Flag. Astonishingly, less than 3 hours later, Parente was told that a majority of the City Council had voted to remove the Flag. It was taken down the same day by the Public Works Department.
Peter Parente and members of his organization plan to protest the Flag’s confiscation at tomorrow’s City Council meeting. The April 9th City Council meeting will include “Citizens To Be Heard” (“CTBH”) where all New Rochelle citizens can have an open mic for 3 minutes to make comments, for the council to take into consideration while they deliberate on city issues. “CTBH” will take place at 7:30 pm in Council Chambers located in City Hall, 515 North Ave, New Rochelle, NY 10801, (914) 654-2000.
According to Peter Parente, “The Gadsden Flag was the first flag of our Nation … the Navy and Marines fought the American Revolution under that flag, and we will stand under it and fight again if we must.”
The Thomas More Law Center defends and promotes America’s Christian heritage and moral values, including the religious freedom of Christians, time-honored family values, and the sanctity of human life. It supports a strong national defense and an independent and sovereign United States of America. The Law Center accomplishes its mission through litigation, education, and related activities. It does not charge for its services. The Law Center is supported by contributions from individuals, corporations and foundations, and is recognized by the IRS as a section 501(c)(3) organization. You may reach the Thomas More Law Center at (734) 827-2001 or visit our website at www.thomasmore.org.