FIRST ON FOX – House Republicans are demanding that a veterans hospital in Austin, Texas, put back a cross display that officials removed from the lobby following complaints that displaying the symbol “somehow” violates the U.S. Constitution.
Texas Republican Rep. Chip Roy, along with 16 of his GOP colleagues sent a joint letter Monday to Secretary of Veterans Affairs Denis R. McDonough demanding that Central Texas Veterans Health Care System (CTVHCS) immediately return the cross – which bears the emblems of American military branches and the words, “Remember our Veterans” – back to its original display.
The display is topped by what appears to be a bugle player, likely to represent the playing of “Taps” at military or veteran funerals.
CTVHCS’s decision “exhibits remarkable disregard for the First Amendment and hostility toward basic military history and the traditions of the United States. We call on you to immediately reverse this decision,” the lawmakers wrote.
“Attempts to sterilize the public square – in this case a clinic that provides medical care to the veterans that sacrificed for our Republic – of all symbols of Christianity flies in the face of the very founding of our nation,” they said.
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“From the Distinguished Service Cross established in 1918 to the Air Force Cross in 1960, our country has used the symbol of the cross to honor U.S. military personnel for over a century,” the letter continued.
“Arlington National Cemetery is also home to at least two beloved cross memorials to the nation’s fallen: the Argonne Cross, dedicated in 1923, and the Canadian Cross of Sacrifice, dedicated in 1927,” they noted.
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The lawmakers said, “If a cross can adorn the uniforms of the most heroic among us and can stand on the hallowed grounds of Arlington it certainly should be welcomed and honored at the VA clinic in Austin.”
“The greatest members of our founding understood that the religious and moral nature of America’s heritage was critical to this Republic’s preservation and to our veterans and men and women in the Armed Forces,” the letter stated.
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“America’s first President George Washington famously said, ‘Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, Religion and morality are indispensable supports,'” they said. “As Commander in Chief of the Continental Army years before, he similarly implored his troops, ‘While we are zealously performing the duties of good citizens and soldiers we certainly ought not to be inattentive to the higher duties of Religion.’”
“Out of reverence for our country’s military history and longstanding traditions — out of respect for the veterans who have borne the battle for this Republic, its principles, and the freedom it guards — we request that you immediately return the cross to its original display,” they concluded.
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