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Minn. Firefighter Suspended After Flying Confederate Flag During Parade

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- There may be repercussions from the parade Friday in southern Minnesota where a Confederate battle flag was flown from a participating fire truck.

Brian Nielsen, a southern Minnesota volunteer firefighter, is suspended after flying a Confederate flag from the back of a Hartland Fire Department truck during Albert Lea's Third of July Parade.

Nielsen is also an EMS with the department, whose chief suspended him on Sunday.

He said the chief is upset about all the negative attention the town is getting, and if the department asks him to resign, he'll do it.

"I will out of respect for them, yes I will," he said. "I'm sorry I hurt my city and hurt the fire department."

Interview With Brian Nielsen

Nielsen says he may attend this week's Albert Lea chamber of commerce meeting to make a formal apology.

Randy Kehr, the chamber's executive director, called the incident unfortunate, but said he understands that Nielsen, who alone chose to fly the Confederate flag next to the Stars and Stripes, has freedom of speech.

Nielsen says he's not for slavery or a racist, but feels political correctness is effectively changing the country's history.

Nielsen also said he never expected the choice would get so much attention.

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