Vietnam veteran: 'I don't want that cross there'

COOS BAY, Ore. -- The cross in Mingus Park has been a controversial topic lately, and the national group that wants it removed is being joined by some south coast locals.

A separation of church and state watchdog group wants the City of Coos Bay to remove the memorial from Mingus Park because they say it's unconstitutional.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation sent Coos Bay City Manager Rodger Craddock a letter saying the memorial itself isn't the problem, it's the cross resting on top.

They say it's an, "endorsement of Christianity over other religions and over nonreligion," and must be removed "immediately".

Dawn Brittain and Jan (pronounced 'yawn') are members of the South Coast Secular Society.

They believe the cross on top of the Vietnam veteran's memorial is exclusionary, unpatriotic and against the law.

"I think it's very discriminatory and it's telling people, "You don't belong here, this is a Christian area and if you're not one of us, you're excluded,"" she said.

Some veterans have been extremely vocal about leaving the cross where it is, but Jan (who declined to use his last name) says he wants it gone, and he is a veteran. "I feel cheated because they didn't count my voice when they're saying all veterans want that cross to stay here," he said. "I'm a disabled Vietnam veteran and I feel a little missed because I don't want that cross there. That is exclusive."

Jan would prefer an American flag or an eagle to be displayed instead of the cross.

Whatever side of the issue you are on, you will have an opportunity to voice your opinion at a public meeting on Tuesday.

The meeting is being held at the Coos Bay Public Library 7:00 pm.