A firefighter from Albert Lea, Minn., has been suspended for flying a Confederate flag from the back of his fire truck in a local Independence Day parade.
Brian Nielsen, 43, a volunteer firefighter from the Hartland Fire Department, told The Associated Press he displayed the flag alongside the American flag because he was fed up with political correctness.
A firefighter for 10 years, Nielsen drove the vehicle in the parade on July 3, and underestimated the impact the Confederate flag would have.
“It was my decision and I didn’t think it was going to be a big deal, but, boy, was I wrong,” he said.
Nielsen told The AP he was suspended on Sunday, pending an investigation.
“More than likely I’ll probably be asked to step down,” he said. “I respect that and will do that if they want.”
He apologized for his actions and said race was not a driving factor.
“I’m sorry for what I caused my town, the Hartland Fire Department and even my family,” Nielsen said.
“I don’t see race,” he added. “Black and white are the same to me. My belief is that ‘politically correct’ is going too far.”
A photo of the truck was taken and shared on social media.
— Dale Moerke (@demoerke) July 4, 2015
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