Friday, July 20, 2012

From Sea to Shining Sea, Veterans Memorials Continue Under Assault

War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.” - John Stuart Mill English economist & philosopher (1806 - 1873)

War is indeed an ugly thing and those who are sent to one pay a steep price, some paying the ultimate sacrifice by giving their lives. We are known for giving honors and respects to those who fall in battle protecting our country and erect Memorials to honor the fallen across the land

It wasn’t always like that, though. Prior to World War One, few Memorials existed in the world and of those erected, such Memorials like The Arc de Triomphe in Paris or Nelson’s Column in London bore no names, the war dead often just shoveled into mass unmarked graves.

In the late 19th century, the British Army began erecting small monuments listing the names of their dead from small Imperial Wars. Our own Confederate Monument in Arlington Cemetery was not erected until early in the 20th century.

While there were monuments erected to great military victories, few were erected to honor those who sacrificed much in those victories.

That would change after World War One as Britain and France decided to “construct governmentally designed cemeteries” to recognize the “massive devastation and loss of life.”

Although entering very late in the war, America followed suit and Memorials to our fallen began springing up across the country to honor the fallen warriors’ and give the families and Veterans who bear the visible and invisible scars of their war a place of respite and to reminisce with fallen buddies.

To Veterans, each Memorial sits on hallowed ground and is a sacred place where we take honoring our fallen brothers and sisters very seriously.

For most of our history this has not been problem for any in the country or if it did offend then, knew better than to incur the wrath of Veterans in honoring our fallen.

But that seems to have changed as we see atheist groups and members of the ACLU leaping at any chance to seek to destroy our Memorials, claiming they violate some “establishment clause” they think gives them the right to not have to look at our Memorials in public places if they may contain any symbol those malcontents deem “religious” in nature.

As atheists, often with the willing help of the ACLU have decided they can wipe out references to God within the country, Veterans Memorials have become the target as most contain some sort of symbol related to religion, as the majority in the country do hold some religious view, even more so at the time many of our Memorials were erected.

Veterans, families and community leaders opted for such symbols to offer solace and comfort as people who visit the Memorials to honor the fallen and would often pray that their souls were received by the Heavenly Father.

Where those who may not believe in God or hold to a mainstream religious view once would honor the fallen at such Memorials silently, tolerating others expressing their views toward religion openly, now lawsuits are springing up across the country to have the Memorials destroyed or disfigured in such a manner to remove the symbols of religion that brought so many comfort as they remembered those who did not come back.

From Southern California to Rhode Island, Veterans Memorials are under assault with courts alternately ruling they must be torn down or covered as was the case deep in the Mojave Desert where a simple cross erected by World War One Veterans stood for some 70 years. As the courts gave approval for it to remain, vandals removed it in the dead of night, bringing on another lawsuit to block a replacement Memorial to be erected in the same fashion as the previous one.

San Diego is still the battle ground in a decade’s long case trying to save the Mt. Soledad Memorial from the bulldozers blade, after standing in its present location silently, ready to offer comfort to any who visit it for over 50 years.

Memorials have been being vandalized and defaced these last few years, but none of us expected it to be the courts that would approve the destruction of a Veterans Memorial due to it having a symbol of religion upon it when erected decades before many of us were born.

But that is what we see coming from atheist groups and the ACLU across the country as word of two more Veterans Memorials coming under assault in two other states reaches us.

Even though atheists lost in their initial court challenge to have the Statue of Jesus removed from atop a mountain at Whitefish Mountain Resort ski area in Montana, The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) has launched anew efforts to have the courts mandate the destruction of a simple statue of Jesus, erected in the “1950′s by Knights of Columbus World War II veterans who wanted to commemorate the service of fallen soldiers.”

It is said the simple Memorial statue was inspired by similar statues these Veterans saw alongside mountains as they fought their way across Europe in World War Two.

That matters little to this group of atheists who label it a “ruse and a sham” claiming it “insults and excludes the many ‘atheists in foxholes’ and non-Christian veterans who defended our country.”

There is no desire to erect another Memorial of their liking, just destroy the one that brings others comfort.

Attorneys with the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) are fighting the Wisconsin based FFRF, but need our help in the way of signing petitions calling on our Memorials to be left alone as well as any who can should donate what funds they have to help defray the legal costs as this atheist group is also targeting another Veterans Memorial.

The well funded FFRF has sent a letter to the town of Woonsocket, Rhode Island, demanding the town disfigure a Memorial erected 91-years ago to “honor the city’s war dead, including three brothers killed in World War I.”

Rebecca Market, FFRF senior staff attorney wrote the town, “We ask that you immediately remove the cross from the Fire Station parking lot and remove the prayer and angel from the Woonsocket Fire Department website.”

Even the simple Fireman’s Prayer doesn't escape the hate of religion and God from this atheist group.

Although the town’s mayor, Leo T. Fontaine vowed the cross will remain, he also admits that the town is in deep financial troubles, much like every other town in America right now and cannot afford a costly legal battle with the FFRF hate group. Therefore, he says they may end up having to move it to a piece of private property.

As for the angel and prayer on the town website, Fire Chief Gary Lataille says he has “no plans of removing them from the WFD’s web site.”

As a layman with no legal training, I am struck wondering just how it is if our first right listed in our Bill of Rights says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” that atheists groups can pervert our Bill of Rights and have government decree the destruction of religious symbols on our Veterans Memorials that have stood proudly and silently for decades without bothering anybody.

How is it that a small group of hate filled atheists can twist our laws to call for the destruction and disfigurement of Memorials erected on what was private land when built, but was taken over by government and now, such places of honor must be destroyed?

We must stand up and push back against these malcontents who feel their feigned offense at our Memorials grants them the right to remove our places of solace. We must fight to protect what is ours.

After all, if they succeed in destroying these Veterans Memorials, what might they target next?

If you ever wonder why God has allowed this country to slip into such disrepair and our people to continue suffering through several disasters, just remember that you sat back and did nothing as he was kicked out.

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