In a release distributed today, Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin applauded Mayor Leo Fontaine, the Woonsocket City Council and the City of Woonsocket for gearing to fight a challenge demanding removal of religious symbols from the Place Jolicoeur memorial and Fire Department website.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) wants a cross removed from the monument and the Firefighter's Prayer and image of an angel removed from the website.
Kilmartin's support is added to that of Retired RI Adjutant General Reginald Centracchio, who has organized a rally to support keeping the monument at Fire Department Headquarters as-is, to be held at the site today, 4:30 p.m.
Last night, the City Council considered a resolution to set up an account for the defense of the memorial and web site.
“The FFRF apparently has taken the myopic view that because it saw a cross, the monument is solely a religious symbol and should be removed,” said Kilmartin. “By taking this view, they clearly have chosen to diminish the monument’s significance in honoring the sacrifices the Jolicoeur and Gagne family members made in dying while defending our country, ironically so
groups like the FFRF can even exist. This monument transcends religion and the call to remove it is an affront to all veterans. Our national cemeteries are filled with grave markers including the cross and the Star of David. Should they be removed also?
Like the Jolicoeur and Gagne families did in World War I and World War II, it is time for us to join together to fight zealotry, and I add my voice to those of the citizens of Woonsocket and beyond in defending true American values and the intent of the United States Constitution,” said Kilmartin.