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VETERANS: War memorial excludes many faiths

Letter by Micaela R. Cooley, Tacoma on Nov. 14, 2012 at 1:01 pm with No Comments »
November 14, 2012 1:42 pm

For those of you that have not seen the religious monument at War Memorial Park by the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, let me describe it.

Above the monument is a faded photograph of three caucasian gentlemen with a caption that reads: “The religious monument paying tribute to the courage and patriotism of Americans of all faiths was dedicated in March 1961. The brass symbols are mounted on a block of sandstone, which itself rests on a concrete base.”

These brass symbols? A cross and a Star of David.

If you believe that Christianity and Judaism represent all faiths in our military Americans – shame. In 2009, 103 different religious affiliations were represented in our military and 3,409 active-duty military registered as Muslims. Officials believe the number of active-duty Muslims is actually closer to 10,000 and that most of these soldiers do not want to openly affiliate as being Islamic.

I believe our “war on terror” is far too often felt as a  “war on religion” or a “war of on the other” by 10 percent of our military and more than 1 million American citizens. The white Christian paradigm is over, America. Don’t make me sing “We are the World,” because I will.

I’m embarrassed that Pierce County – one of the most racially and religiously diverse counties in the state – has done nothing about this since 1961. Don’t call it “War Memorial Park” if what you really meant was “Jewish and Christian Feel-Good Park.” Let us acknowledge all our veterans.

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