Some firefighters feel the requirement to remove patches is unpatriotic and limits their ability to express patriotic strength and unity through the symbol.
The policy at Bakersfield City Fire Department went into effect February 1, and aims to make all uniforms belonging to members of the Bakersfield fire department appear the same, said fire department spokesman Ross Kelly.
"Some of the flags were facing in the wrong direction, the flag would get worn after several months of use, and in order to all dress the same and to respect the United States flag, we felt it was more appropriate to give our employees the option to wear the united states flag on their nameplate," Kelly told KGET.
Though the city bears less symbols of the flag, surrounding Kern County has embraced the flag on turnouts, uniforms, T-shirts, pins and patches to show support for fallen heroes since 9/11.
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