TEGA CAY, S.C. (WBTV) - City leaders in Tega Cay say a police memorial will be restored after a debate about the Biblical message on the monument.
According to the City of Tega Cay’s website, City Council decided that the Police Officer’s Prayer will be restored to its original condition and returned to the Fallen Officers’ Memorial located at the new police station.
“We want to thank everyone for voicing your opinion, as it’s not always easy to do so on such a sensitive subject,” the message on the website read.
Earlier in the week, officials were catching heat for accepting the gift to the Tega Cay Police Department - a fallen officer memorial. Some in the community were upset that the word “Lord” was found written on the stone three times.
On Tuesday, city officials decided to cover up the word “Lord” after some neighbors raised concerns about religious messages on government property. City manager Charlie Funderburk said the monument was altered only to get rid of the divisiveness and to appease everyone, no matter their beliefs.
On Tuesday night, officials removed the memorial after backlash from those both in support of the Biblical message and those who wanted the message removed.
“We attempted to find a compromise but failed as our community has further divided. In an attempt to find a resolution, we have upset parties on both sides of this issue and for that we are truly sorry,” a post from the City’s Facebook read, announcing the memorial’s removal. “The City of Tega Cay’s intent from the beginning of this project was to recognize our current and fallen police officers. Without their courage, strength, dedication, concern and compassion, as mentioned in the police officer’s prayer inscribed on the monument, our City would be a much different place.”
On Friday morning, the announcement to restore the memorial described what has been a challenging week for city leaders.
“This was a tough week in Tega Cay. It is our hope that we can now move forward together and continue to be the strong, welcoming community that we have always been known for. Regardless of our different viewpoints, our people are what truly makes this City such a wonderful place,” the message read.
Funderburk says no one who works for the city could have imagined the kind of backlash that came because the message that was on the stone was no different than the words found on other monuments honoring law enforcement officers across the nation.
“We care about everybody. Not just one over another, everyone is treated equally here.”
A group planned to host a prayer at the monument on Saturday in response to all the backlash. There is no word on whether the group still plans to hold the gathering.