The “Atheists in Foxholes” monument challenges a military cliché.

The new headquarters of the Freedom From Religion Foundation in Madison, WI will see the unveiling of a 4,743 pound granite monument that will be dedicated to the “Atheists in Foxholes,” those who served their country with honor and distinction, without the guidance of any God. The monument that was installed on October 6th was inaugurated this morning at an exclusive invite-only event at Freethought Hall. Veterans were encouraged to take photos with the monument dedicated to them.

Monument honors nonreligious veterans

The monument is entirely made out of South Dakota granite, the same granite that Mount Rushmore is carved from. Standing tall at a height of 7 feet, the monument resembles the long windows of the original Freethought Hall building which dates back to 1855. The structure now brings additional attention to the new Rose Zerwick Memorial Garden and Courtyard next to the Freethought Hall’s entrance. The organizers have very thoughtfully planted a teak bench just opposite to the monument to let people sit back and reflect while they admire the structure. The text on the monument concludes with a gentle plea saying “Presented with hope that in the future humankind may learn to avoid all war.”

About a quarter of the members of the Freedom From Religion Foundation consist of veterans who were or are in the military. This monument is the second of its kind as the first Atheists in Foxholes monument was erected at FFRF’s office in Munford, Alabama and is managed by the Alabama Freethought Society. The earlier monument was carved by Bill Teague, a World War II veteran.

The courtyard where the newest monument stands also consists of carved patio pavers that bear the names of the donors and the various slogans, and renders the courtyard a very warm and cozy feel. The carved patio pavers were a work of the Pechmann Memorials, who worked with FFRF to beautify the area.

According to Annie Laurie Gaylor, the FFRF co-founder and co-president, this monument stands not only to honor the nonreligious veterans, but also serves as a reminder to the nation that there are indeed many “atheists in foxholes,” contrary to the untrue cliché.


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