- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 25, 2015

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - Officials say they will continue with their plan to move a veterans memorial that bears a covered ichthus, or “Jesus fish,” from the Boone County Courthouse grounds.

The Columbia Daily Tribune (https://bit.ly/1IbbQR1 ) reports that five opponents of the move spoke Tuesday morning during a regular Boone County Commission meeting. But the commission will not stop plans to transfer the Desert Storm veterans memorial to the private Columbia City Cemetery. A new monument will be put in its place.

The commission decided to move the memorial in August after it deemed the ichthus is a religious symbol that does not belong on government property. The symbol was covered in June 2014 with a plaque that read “Dedicated 1992.”

Presiding Commission Dan Atwill said “Religious symbols have no place on county property,” and noted that the new monument will not have religious symbols.

“That is not something county business needs to be focused on,” Atwill said.

The memorial is in tribute to Patrick Connor and Steven Farnen, two Boone County men who died during Operation Desert Storm. Farnen’s parents strongly opposed the decisions to cover the ichthus and move the monument.

Connor’s parents, Will and Marsha Connor of Marcellus, New York, met with County Counselor C.J. Dykhouse Wednesday, learning about plans for a new memorial and the county’s reasons for deciding to move the existing memorial. The Connors were provided with a rendering of the proposed new monument, which is being prepared by Boonville company based on a design created by a committee of commissioners and veterans representatives.

“We had our questions answered. It just wasn’t the answers we wanted,” Will Connors said.

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Information from: Columbia Daily Tribune, https://www.columbiatribune.com

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