Thousands Turn Out to Support Veterans Memorial in Albia

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ALBIA, Iowa -- There is another veterans memorial in Iowa that has entered the national spotlight.

A memorial honoring fallen soldiers in Albia is under fire from Americans United for Separation of Church and State. The group claims it violates the First Amendment by promoting religion on public ground and is asking for the crosses to be taken down or a lawsuit will be filed.

On Sunday, supporters held a Welcome Home Soldier rally at the monument as about 2,000 people were in attendance.

The memorial sits on a county-owned property and features dozens of crosses and a marble wall honoring area veterans. Monroe County voters approved the project 12 years ago, which was created by Jim Keller.

Jason Summers purchased a cross at the monument in honor of his late father, a Vietnam vet. Instead of anger towards the group, Summers is offering a hand of compassion.

"I really do pray that they will have their hearts changed because it's a sad place to be if this offends you," said Summers.

Others feel the group is trying to prey on small-town Iowa.

"All these people who turned out today don`t like to be bullied. They are trying to exercise their freedom," said Dave Thomas, a retired war veteran from Albia.

A lawsuit has not yet been filed against Keller's monument.

Last summer, Americans United for Separation of Church and State also attacked Knoxville's soldier and cross veterans memorial. Per its request, the city removed the cross.

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