It’s a small southern town where everybody knows everybody else. It’s a place where kids ride their bikes in the streets, where people go to a favorite local diner as much to socialize as to eat and a place where folks step up when one of their own goes down.
I’ve never been to Hiram but I’ve been to plenty of small towns just like it. In fact, I live in one just like it.
So what is it that makes Hiram different…at least this week?
Hiram Georgia…in Paulding County…population 2,331, plus 1…coward.
Last Friday, 79 white crosses were erected along highway 92, on land owned by Hiram, on public land…to remember the 79 Paulding County Georgia residents who gave the ultimate sacrifice while serving our nation….while protecting us all.
Some of those fallen soldier’s families still live there. Some don’t. But it doesn’t matter, because they were from there once, and that, to the people of Hiram, is what mattered. At least that’s what mattered to all but one of the people who live there now.
Last Friday, shortly after the crosses were set up…this being Memorial Day weekend and all…that one made a phone call to city hall and questioned whether all 79 of Paulding County’s fallen soldiers were…Christians. If not, said the caller, or if they couldn’t confirm it, then the crosses should be taken down.
That one single, lone caller didn’t leave a name. That single caller remained…anonymous.
The coward of Paulding County.
Just hours after the crosses were put in place, Hiram’s mayor had them taken down. You know why. Political correctness. It wasn’t something she wanted to do, but she did it anyway because she wanted those 79 fallen heroes to be remembered for what they did, not as some political point of contention.
Hiram Mayor, Teresa Philyaw, should have had the courage of 79 fallen soldier’s convictions and left those crosses where they stood and told that coward to pound sand but she had the crosses removed, rather than standing her ground, and theirs.
If that was the end of it, the last we would have ever heard of Hiram Georgia, their 79 crosses and their bowing to political correctness, I would call their mayor a coward too, but it’s not the end of it.
Last Tuesday night, at the Hiram City Council meeting, the topic of those crosses came back up as people stood, one by one, to tell the stories of someone represented by one of those 79 crosses. Some most likely only knew of someone one of those crosses stood for before they were removed from that spot along highway 92. Others may just have wanted to support those who gave their lives in service to us all.
Tommy Dingler was there.
Tommy Dingler spoke to the City Council and told them that, “A cross has been used for fallen soldiers from the time of the Red Coats, Patriots, Yankees, Rebels — they all used it,” and while Tommy spoke, he held an 8×10 framed photo of his 19 year old son, Joshua, who died in Iraq.
One of those 79 crosses was for Joshua Dingler.
The other 78 were for other brave heroes who also have names.
They weren’t cowards like that one, solitary phone caller who wouldn’t give a name, who hid at one end of a phone call to stand for nothing…nothing but political correctness.
78 heroes stood for a lot more than that and so too did Joshua Dingler…who I suspect, would have been very proud of what his father stood for last Tuesday night.
After everyone had their chance to speak, the Hiram City Council took a vote and unanimously agreed to put the crosses back up because, while it wasn’t the politically correct thing to do, it was the right thing to do.
Wednesday morning, along Highway 92, in Hiram Georgia, the Mayor saw to it that all 79 crosses were back in place, to honor the 79 residents of Paulding County who, over the years, and decades, gave every last measure of themselves in the service of our great nation.
It doesn’t matter whether or not each and every one of those for whom the crosses represent where Christians. What matters is that they are remembered and if they are remembered by Christians, in the way Christians remember and honor those who are no longer with us…with a cross…where’s the harm in that?
Naturally, there are those who, in the name of political correctness, argue that all religions should be recognized if one is recognized but that’s just liberal rubbish as there are some 4,200 religions spread across the world. Besides…this was never about religion to begin with even though a symbol of one religion was used. The real point here, and in Hiram Georgia, is that the people who chose to erect a remembrance of those 79 fallen heroes chose the cross.
Our 1st Amendment says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;” and Congress had nothing to do with the decision to put those crosses there and no law was passed establishing a religion. Nobody who passes that particular spot along Highway 92 is being forced to consent to any religion or religious tradition and nobody is being held, by any law, to recognize any particular religious aspect or practice any religious dogma.
Whoever decided to put those crosses there had every right to do so but nobody in this country has a right to not be offended.
Apparently, the coward of Paulding County was offended, not personally but possibly on behalf of someone else. How else can one explain that anonymous phone call? Are you sure that all 79 fallen heroes were Christians and if you’re not, than you need to remove all the crosses lest one of them be offended.
My advice to that particular coward, and so many more like whoever placed that phone call, is to get a life and quit spending your days and nights looking for something by which to be offended or finding ways to be offended on behalf of others.
This is Memorial Day weekend and I hope that on Sunday and Monday, along Highway 92 in Hiram Georgia, somebody will place 80 United States flags alongside of those 79 crosses.
1 flag each, for each of Paulding County’s 79 heroes…and 1 for the coward of Paulding County.