An activist organization committed to the principle of separation of church and state has asked the city to remove a Latin cross, part of a 1921 memorial to fallen veterans at Woonsocket Fire Department Headquarters at 5 Cumberland Hill Road.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) has also asked that the Woonsocket Fire Department remove an image and prayer from its website, citing their religious nature. The Firefighter's Prayer, a poem written in 1958 by firefighter A.W. "Smokey" Linn, according to FireMemorials.com, is in widespread use on memorials across the country.
The FFRF sent a letter of complaint to Mayor Leo Fontaine April 13 (see attached .pdf) about the cross and web site, asking the city to remove the religious references and symbol.
The letter states the organization was made aware of the memorial and web site posts by a concerned Woonsocket resident. "It is unlawful for a city government and its agencies to display patently religious symbols and messages on city property," wrote Rebecca S. Markert, a staff attorney for the FFRF.
A post on Myfoxboston.com reports local veterans oppose the attempt to have the cross removed.