A 4,743-pound granite monument dedicated to “ATHEISTS IN FOXHOLES and the countless freethinkers who have served this country with honor and distinction” was installed, Oct. 6, at the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s new offices in Madison, Wis.
The Atheists in Foxholes monument will be dedicated on Friday, Oct. 9 at 10:30 a.m. during the by-invitation-only grand opening of the renovated Freethought Hall downtown. Vets in attendance will be encouraged to pose for a photograph.
The monument, made of the same South Dakota granite that Mount Rushmore is carved from, is more than 7 feet high, reflects the long windows that are part of the original 1855 building and provides a focus for the new Rose Zerwick Memorial Garden and Courtyard adjoining Freethought Hall’s new entrance. A teak bench opposite the display provides a spot for reflection.
The monument text concludes with a pacific plea: “Presented with hope that in the future humankind may learn to avoid all war.”
About a quarter of FFRF’s membership are vets or in the military, as is true for the military as a whole.
This is FFRF’s second Atheists in Foxholes monument. The prototype, which was carved by World War II veteran Bill Teague, is nestled in piney woods next to FFRF’s southern Freethought Hall near Munford, Ala., which is overseen by its chapter, the Alabama Freethought Society.
FFRF worked with Pechmann Memorials, which also carved the patio pavers — bearing donor names and slogans — surrounding the monument in the cozy courtyard space.
“FFRF deals with so many state/church entanglements regarding all branches of the military, where substantial incursions by aggressive evangelicals have been made. This monument not only honors nonreligious veterans, but serves as a reminder to our nation that — contrary to that tired, old, untrue cliché — there are indeed many ‘atheists in foxholes,’ ” said Annie Laurie Gayor, FFRF co-founder and co-president.
FFRF’s 38th national convention takes place this weekend in Madison, starting with the Friday morning grand opening, and moves to Monona Terrace convention center in the afternoon. Keynoter Ron Reagan will speak Friday night. Registrations can be taken at the door. For more information, phone 608-256-8900 or click here.
In a secular coincidence, a monument to the Ten Commandments placed at the Capitol grounds in Oklahoma City, which was found unconstitutional by the state Supreme Court, was removed yesterday.