A town in Georgia recently removed 79 white crosses meant to commemorate the lives of U.S. military personnel for Memorial Day, after someone complained the crosses had a religious connotation. But on Wednesday morning, city hall placed the crosses back on display.
These crosses were placed along Georgia Highway 92 to honor 79 Paulding County residents who died serving in the U.S. military.
Almost as soon as the handmade crosses went up on public property in Hiram, Georgia, an unnamed resident accused city hall of not checking to make sure that all who died were Christians, Fox News reports.
The crosses were subsequently removed last Friday by Hiram City Hall, the same day they went up, for fear of suffering a lawsuit.
Mayor Teresa Philyaw said she didn’t mean for the crosses to carry religious significance.
“It was never about religion — it was just to honor them,” Philyaw told Fox News. “I was devastated when it had to come down.”
For Philyaw, the cross represents a “rest in peace” symbol to remind residents of the 79 local residents who died serving in World War I, Iraq and Afghanistan. She said that none of the families had complained.
While Philyaw protested that she didn’t mean anything wrong by having the crosses up, she did in fact have them taken down, which sparked a response on social media from angry and frustrated locals.
“The 79 veterans from Paulding County who sacrificed their lives for our nation are being taken down for the Memorial Day holiday because some find it offensive,” said one user on Facebook, according to Fox News. “Tell that to the families of these brave veterans who died for us so we can have freedom and shame on you, mayor of Hiram, Georgia, for caving in to their demands.”
After a debate in city council Tuesday evening, the city decided to place the crosses back on display.
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