MURFREESBORO, Tenn. A fire station memorial to the Sept. 11 terror attack victims that included the phrase "God Bless America" was ordered altered by a city official who said it improperly mixed government and religion.
The memorial erected by firefighters at Murfreesboro Fire Station No. 6 now consists of a model of the twin towers of the World Trade Center and the edited phrase "Bless America."
"No one from city administration had approved of the original display," City Manager Roger Haley told The Daily News Journal. "When I saw what was there, I asked that the language be modified to be more in keeping with what we would expect on a display like that on public property."
The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution bars the government from endorsing any religion.
Haley said that after the September 2001 attacks, the city erected a "United We Stand" banner across Main Street. Similar wording on the firefighter display would have been more appropriate, he added.
Some don't like the change Haley ordered.
"Some people feel that excluding the name of God was offensive to them, and being a believer in God, it was offensive to me," said Dwight Ogleton, a firefighter.