After Heated Debate… Salem VA Medical Center Reverses Decision, Will Allow Christmas Tree
2015 the year of the perpetually offended.
A letter from the Salem VA Medical Center to all employees stating Christmas trees will not be allowed in public areas this holiday season ignites a debate. But, after a heated meeting Friday afternoon — management is going to deck the halls and light the tree after all.
Christmas trees have always been a part of Christmas at the Salem VA Medical Center.
For veteran Vicki Jackson, the tree symbolizes overcoming a hard time in her life.
“It brought me over a big hump, because Christmas is hard for me, it’s real hard for something that happened years ago,” said Jackson. “And, to see that tree gone it’s not Christmas.”
It’s not just Jackson; it’s a message that provoked Salem VAMC employees, veterans and others in the community.
And, after a closed meeting between management and up to 150 staff members; now, a tree will stand tall this holiday season at the Salem VAMC.
“It was very tense in there with the director and amongst the employees,” said Jckson. “I wasn’t supposed to be there, but I went anyhow.”
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.
The decision comes after a letter from the Salem VAMC to employees which read, “trees have been deemed to promote the Christian religion and will not be permitted in any public areas this year.”
“I don’t look at the tree as the birth of Christ, I don’t,” said Jackson. “I look at is as a tree being decorated with ornaments.”
Management explained their reasoning: a federal workplace should not give the impression that the government is sponsoring or endorsing one religion over another. More