May 2, 2012

Woonsocket War Memorial: Rally and Defense Fund

Monique Chartier

... yes, even the self-described "stickler about church and state separation", Jim Baron, says it's a war memorial.

But the war memorial at Place Jolicoeur is different — materially, qualitatively and significantly different. It is different because it is not a religious symbol at all. Cross or no cross, it is not a religious symbol, it is a war memorial.

Its purpose — its reason for being, and for being where it is in the public square — has nothing to do with faith or religion. It is there to remember, and recognize the sacrifice of, the soldiers it honors: William Jolicoeur and Alexandre, Henri and Louis Gagne. The cross at the top is ancillary; it is, in effect, a decoration on the monument and what it denotes, any religious significance aside, is that this is a substitute for the graves these men will never have in their home city. They are buried on the faraway battlefields where they fell in service to their country.

The rally kicks off at 4:30 today and takes place at the memorial, 5 Cumberland Hill Road, Woonsocket. (From the south, take either Route 146 North or Route 295 North, then pick up Route 99 North. At the end of 99, take a left at the light and keep driving until you get to the fire station which will be on your left. Look for signs and police officers directing cars to parking areas.)

Last night, as Council President John Ward described it via e-mail, the Woonsocket City Council voted to establish

the creation of a separate account in order to accept donations to be used for the memorial defense costs and monument rehabilitation.

Those who are inclined to contribute to the fund will find information on the front page of the city's website.

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Thank you for this Monique. It's important for everyone regardless of religious beliefs or non religious beliefs. Our war dead deserve our respect.

Yet,I do feel this complaint from the Freedom from Religion Foundation is an attack on religious libery.

Tonight I called Matt Allen to make the point that Congress only is prohibited from establishing or prohibiting the free exercise of religion and that cities and towns and the people are not Congress.

This is backed up by the 10th Amendment.

Therefore,they are not constrained by the Constitution from free exercise of religion.

Posted by: helen at May 2, 2012 7:47 PM

To clarify my previous post "they" means States,cities,towns,school boards and other official government organizations which are not the US Congress. This is supposed to protect the people.

Posted by: helen at May 2, 2012 7:56 PM

Of what religion were William,Alexandre,Henri and Louis?

I'll bet they were Catholic,so the cross at the top isn't ancillary.

Posted by: helen at May 2, 2012 8:36 PM

The cross is not a "decoration". It has a deep religious meaning to some of us and it is a gross insult to describe it as a "decoration".

So where is the protection of religious liberty?

Posted by: helen at May 2, 2012 9:01 PM
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