HIRAM, Ga. - The Hiram Community gathered on the field of crosses this Memorial Day to host a tribute to our fallen heroes. The city was able to restore the display after it was taken down last week. They are already preparing for next year's event, which will include even more crosses!
The city of Hiram restored its Memorial Day display honoring 79 people from who died while serving in the military.
Wednesday morning, 79 simple white crosses were put back in place along Georgia Highway 92 in honor of the fallen soldiers from Paulding County.
The crosses had previously been on display; however, on the same day they were placed along the highway, they were taken down. The tribute was put to a halt because city leaders got a single complaint asking if all the soldiers, represented by a cross, were Christian. There was also a question raised as to why the crosses were placed on city-owned property.
Mayor Teresa Philyaw called the crosses "rest in peace markers." She said when placing the names on the crosses they never questioned beliefs.
Still, fearing a lawsuit, the city took down the crosses.
People upset about the removal of the display took their concerns to a city council meeting Tuesday night. At the meeting, Tommy Dingler held a photo of his son, Joshua, as he spoke to the city council. Joshua was 19 when he was killed in Iraq.
“A cross has been used for fallen soldiers from the time of the Red Coats, Patriots, Yankees, Rebels; they all used it," said Dingler.
Others told the council they were bowing down to one person who made a complaint and not thinking about all those who want their loved ones remembered. The city council eventually agreed, voting unanimously to put the crosses back up.
“We just really would love to think this person will understand that it was never a religious thing, it was just to honor these people who died for him and for all of us,” said Philyaw.
All 79 crosses are now back in place.