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City official orders 'God' removed from firehouse's Sept. 11 memorial

By The Associated Press
12.19.02

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.


Update
Tennessee city allows 'God Bless America' display
Murfreesboro City Council's unanimous decision reverses city manager's order that words on firefighters' Sept. 11 memorial be changed. 12.24.02

Related

Texas student's complaint prompts removal of 'God Bless America' display

Meanwhile, U.S. Senate committee considers resolution urging schools to post patriotic expression. 11.14.01

Federal judge backs school in spat over 'God Bless America'
Artist, 12, wanted elementary school to use her yearbook design with patriotic message; school said no. 04.17.02

'Under God' embraced in court of public opinion
9th Circuit ruled phrase unconstitutional in Pledge, but many Americans have made it clear those words embody their feelings toward the nation — no matter what the courts say. 09.06.02

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