City of Knoxville Asked to Remove Veteran Memorial Cross from Park

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KNOXVILLE, Iowa -- The city of Knoxville is divided over a landmark honoring veterans and some are even calling for it to be taken down.

Some say the display of a solider kneeling at a cross at Young's Park is a violation of the separation of church and state, however others in town say it's a memorial site.

The city received a letter from an anonymous resident and the group that promotes the separation of church and state. They say the display has no place in a public park.

City mayor, Brian Hatch, said a veteran put the display in the park several months ago without city permission. “The city did not go take it down because at the point we didn’t feel like it had any more significance than as a monument to honor the veterans," Hatch said.

On Sept. 8, City Council members will discuss it's plans on whether to keep or remove the cross in a City Council meeting. The public will have an opportunity to express their opinions on the issue at the meeting.

Those who believe the cross should remain standing say it’s not solely a religious symbol but rather a way to honor fallen soldiers.

US Navy veteran, Doug Goff, recalls the community being supportive of the veteran display when it was first placed in the park. Goff said anyone who wants to take down the display is disrespecting veterans.

“Would you go to Arlington National Cemetery and ask to take down those crosses? No, Who would? There are millions of those there and we’ve got one,” Goff said.

A protest to keep the cross at the park is scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 30. It will take place from Noon to 2 p.m. at Young’s Park in Knoxville.

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