When highway patrolmen wanted to honor thirteen troopers who died serving in the vast expanses of Utah, they decided to use roadside crosses.  The private Utah Highway Patrol Association then used volunteer labor, donated materials, and a lot of heart to carefully place memorials at or near where each trooper died.  Each bore the trooper’s name, the highway patrol logo, and a plaque narrating the tragic loss.  Just as the Association intended, those who see the crosses instantly know that an officer died there; that the death is honored, remembered, and deeply felt.

This seems reasonable and right; families and colleagues should be able to honor their heroes as they see fit.  Except, of course, if such memorials offend passing atheists—who then flee to federal court, claiming that the memorials somehow “establish religion” and violate the so-called “separation of church and state.”  Sadly, just as these troopers once fell to violence, now their memorials may fall to a wrongheaded notion of American law.

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