In September, the City Council was thinking about privatizing the land on which the Christian memorial sits so it could remain in place.
But the veterans group that put up the original display made things much easier when they volunteered to swap out the old statue for this new one:
“It`ll be a true memorial to everybody, not just one. There`s no religious connotation to it. There`s no black, white, green. No race, creed, color designation, no gender designation, it`s pretty PC,” said [AMVETS Post 63 Spokesman Don] Zoutte. Zoutte says he hopes the new memorial will put to bed all of the controversy that has surrounded the community over the current memorial that’s there. “It was never, ever, ever meant to offend anybody. I`m the one that put it up…we didn’t see it as a religious symbol…a warrior saying goodbye to another warrior, and not even once did we think about that as being a cross. It was a grave marker, and obviously somebody doesn’t agree with that,” said Zoutte.
As I said before, his ignorance doesn’t mean it wasn’t wrong. It’s not that we didn’t “agree” with the grave marker. We disagreed with the government suggesting only Christians had died in war. The new display, even though it’s called the “Battlefield Cross,” wasn’t explicitly religious in the same way so it made for a fine substitution.
Now, the Knoxville City Council has voted 3-2 on Monday in favor of the switch:
The council delayed on approving the move of the silhouette until they received clarification that the move could be done without any further legal ramifications.
AMVETS Commander Dean Clark and Public Relations Officer Don Zoutte told the council they would have preferred to leave both memorials at the site, but understand the city’s stance on the matter and are willing to move the silhouette on the city’s direction.
The silhouette will be moved the day after Veteran’s Day to a location across the street.
Across the street is private land, which would make any legal challenges moot. It shouldn’t have taken this much work to get a Christian memorial off government property, but that’s what it takes when the people in charge don’t know any better.
By the way, the people in the community didn’t appreciate the vote at all. Two of the council members who voted in favor of the switch were voted out last night:
Two Knoxville City Council members who voted to remove a controversial veterans memorial from a city park were ousted Tuesday.
Carolyn Formanek and April Verwers both lost their council seats, according to unofficial election results Tuesday night.
After the election results were announced, a Facebook page called Stop the Insanity created to support the memorial, posted, “We did it!!!!!” Earlier, the page had urged its 2,769 followers to vote for the two council members’ opponents, with one post reading “If they don’t support our community, why support them?”
Because, according to these residents, the best council members are the ones who make foolish decisions that will cost taxpayers lots of money in a losing lawsuit. That’s the problem with democracy, isn’t it? Everyone gets to vote, including those whose vision extends no further than their own self interests.