Basye proposes new Desert Storm Memorial site after controversy

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JEFFERSON CITY — State Rep. Chuck Basye, R-Rocheport, has proposed legislation to designate two segments of Highway 63 as the new Desert Storm memorial in the place of a memorial Boone County voted to remove from its courthouse grounds. 

The two segments would run through Boone County and come after a hotly contested debate about the existing memorial at the Boone County Courthouse, which features the fish-shaped ichthus, a symbol commonly associated with Christianity. 

"I just felt it was appropriate to honor these two men that lost their lives serving our country. Before I even considered this, I reached out and spoke to the parents of both men and they were thrilled this was even a possibility," Basye said.

The group Americans United for Separation of Church and State argued the symbol was inappropriate for government property and threatened to sue the county if it was not moved.

If Basye's proposal is approved, “U.S. Army Specialist Steven Paul Farnen Memorial Highway” would stretch from Breedlove Drive to Peabody Road and “U.S. Navy Lieutenant Patrick Kelly Connor Memorial Highway” would go from Discovery Parkway to I-70. Costs for both memorial sites would be funded by private donations.

[Editor's Note: The spelling of Basye's name was corrected.]