COLUMBUS (WYTV) – This week, Ohio Congressman Jim Renacci introduced a piece of federal legislation that would protect a specific monument dedicated to fallen soldiers.
About a month ago, the Department of Veterans Affairs removed a replica statue of a fallen soldier battle cross from a national cemetery in Ohio. Renacci’s office was told it was because the statue depicted a gun that looked too realistic.
The statue has since been put back on display at the cemetery and now Renacci is trying to make sure this never happens again.
The fallen soldier battle cross has been used on battlefields since sometime around the Civil War.
The barrel of the soldier’s rifle, or the bayonet, is stuck into the ground, or his boots. His helmet is placed on top of the rifle’s stock. Dog tags are often left hanging on the rifle as well.
A relatively small modern-day recreation of this display cast into a statue from a solid mold, painted, and then placed at the Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery.
After the statue was replaced, Renacci’s office was told no future statues would be allowed to be displayed.
“To say, ‘Well, we don’t want the image of a gun as a monument’ is a little ridiculous,” Renacci said.
So he has put forward legislation that would allow the display to continue to be placed in national cemeteries.
Melissa Terry is a gold star wife. Her husband died about ten years ago and she was shocked the battlefield cross was being treated this way.
“It is a representation of their service, of their sacrifice,” Terry said. “It symbolizes so much. It means the world to us and to have something like that taken away, to me, is absurd.”
Renacci agrees and hopes to convince other U.S. lawmakers that his legislation is common sense and should pass quickly.
“We should protect those that have paid that sacrifice, that terrible sacrifice, to make sure that we’re free in this country,” he said.