The 79 handmade crosses posted along Highway 92 in Hiram, Georgia, planned and approved by Mayor Teresa Philyaw, were intended to represent the 79 local residents who have died in America’s wars, but then City Manager Barry Atkinson received a phone call.
The caller asked if all those fallen soldiers were Christian? “They obviously weren’t,” Atkinson told a news reporter. “It opened our eyes that we missed something here and we immediately took corrective action.”
The crosses came down Friday. The caller offered to make a financial donation if the city would build a new, permanent veterans memorial.
But the rest of the town was not having it.
“It was never about religion — it was just to honor them,” Ms. Philyaw said. “I was devastated when it had to come down. At the time, it never, ever crossed my mind about the religious factor in it,” she said. “The cross is a ‘rest in peace’ symbol to me.”
Local residents showed up at a city council meeting Tuesday night, voicing their objections to the removal. The council voted unanimously to put the crosses back up.
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