Another Military Memorial Under Attack

Update: The creator of the monument explained the reason for his design here:

Al Larsen intended the small Latin cross in each silhouette to mark a grave — like the rows of white crosses at the Normandy American Cemetery in France, where more than 9,000 American World War II troops are buried.

“This is what it means to me,” Larsen said in an interview Wednesday. “It don’t mean no church thing.”

Americans United for the Separation of Church and State claims otherwise.

Todd Starnes at FoxNews highlights an effort by the Americans United for the Separation of Church and State to have a war memorial removed from a park in Knoxville, Iowa:

“It was clear to us it was a memorial to fallen veterans,” Mayor Brian Hatch told me. But it wasn’t clear to everyone.

About a month ago a citizen filed an anonymous complaint — arguing that the memorial was promoting Christianity and therefore violated the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

Mayor Hatch told me the city council ignored the complaint.

“We didn’t take any action because it (the memorial) did not have any religious ties to us at all,” he said. “I only see it as a memorial to the veterans and it shocked me that someone could see it otherwise.”

The offended party apparently called the AU, and the fight was on.

Americans United has since published a snarky reply, noting that Todd Starnes asked if the AU was going to

demand that Arlington Cemetery remove their crosses?

The AU’s Sarah Jones scoffed, noting Arlington headstones aren’t crosses and highlighting the common social confusion between Arlington National Cemetery and the cemeteries in Europe (near Normandy) with rows of white crosses.

But Starnes didn’t say headstones.  He said crosses in Arlington Cemetery.  There are at least two large, cross-shaped memorials in Arlington: The Canadian Cross and the Argonne Cross.

Starnes’ question remains valid:  Will the AU demand Arlington remove their crosses? That was a bridge too far even for the ACLU, but not Jason Torpy.

Sarah Jones offered a “friendly suggestion” that critics cite the correct cemetery.  Maybe she’ll take a “friendly suggestion” to not be so quick to be dismissive, and learn what’s actually in the Arlington National Cemetery.

Unfortunately, this is only the latest such attack on war memorials. Similar battles have been fought on various scales and over various memorials, with some towns emerging victorious and others folding out of fear of legal fees. Just a few weeks ago a county voted to remove a memorial that had an ichthus on it — despite the fact the ichthus wasn’t even visible. Even Michael “Mikey” Weinstein, who claims he supports religious freedom, has joined those attacking a 90-year old WWI memorial because it is in the shape of a cross.

The Knoxville memorial is nearly identical to the one in King, North Carolina, which was eventually removed after a lawsuit — also by AU, which also garnered the AU $500,000.

As has been discussed here many times, the image of a soldier kneeling at a cross-shaped headstone is both iconic and real. It represents something of particular value to those who have “been there.”

For those who simply want to scrub any resemblance of Christianity from the public square, however, it apparently means nothing.

Also at the Stars and Stripes.