“We’re patriots,” is how longtime firefighter Willie Mergendahl of the C.A. Lynch Hose Company describes his fellow firefighters. They have attached the American flag to the back of their newest fire engine. The truck, a 2015 Pierce Pumper which replaced a 28-year old fire engine, was “baptized” at a wet-down party on August 20.
It’s a tradition among fire departments that other fire departments come out with some of their trucks and hose down the new vehicle as a welcome when it enters the fire service. Lynch’s new pumper, dubbed the White Knight, received that special honor this past weekend.
Mergendahl, who has been a member of C.A. Lynch for 64 years, said that a recent order in Arlington in Dutchess County to remove the flag from the fire trucks “ain’t going to happen here.” He said Lynch firefighters have been attaching an American flag to their trucks since the early 1980s, and they will keep doing so.
Village trustee Donald Hackett, also the village fire commissioner, echoed that sentiment. There “was no way the village trustees or he would ask them to remove the flag,” which waves from the back of the truck whenever it leaves the firehouse. “It’s just always been part of the C.A. Lynch Fire Company,” Mergendahl said.