- The Washington Times - Monday, November 23, 2015

Administrators at the Salem Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Salem, Virginia, have reversed their decision to ban Christmas trees following backlash from veterans and staff.

The reversal comes after a letter from administrators to employees that read, “trees have been deemed to promote the Christian religion and will not be permitted in any public areas this year,” a local NBC News affiliate reported.

“I don’t look at the tree as the birth of Christ, I don’t,” veteran Vicki Jackson told NBC. “I look at it as a tree being decorated with ornaments.”

After a closed meeting between management and up to 150 staff members, administrators agreed to allow Christmas trees in public areas, as long as they’re accompanied by Kwanzaa and Hanukkah decorations, which will be paid for through donations, NBC reported.

In a statement, the Salem VAMC public affairs officer said “it was determined that Christmas trees could be displayed in public areas so long as they were accompanied by the respective symbols of the two other faiths that celebrate holidays during this holiday season – namely symbols commemorating Hanukkah and Kwanzaa.”

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