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Ten Commandments monument to be unveiled Saturday in Connellsville

| Tuesday, June 25, 2013, 5:24 p.m.
Evan R. Sanders | Daily Courier
Bill Wesolowski, with Davis Monuments in Scottdale, sweeps the sidewalk after he and a co-worker began laying concrete for a footer in front of the Fraternal Order of Eagles building along South Arch Street in Connellsville. The footer will secure a new Ten Commandments monument that will stand in front of the building as part of the Thou Shall Not Move effort.

The first of several Ten Commandments monuments being secured by Thou Shall Not Move will be shown on Saturday in front of the Fraternal Order of Eagles building on Arch Street in Connellsville.

The ceremonies will begin at approximately 6 p.m. when music by several country-gospel groups will start. Two motorcycle groups, one from Hopwood and the other from Uniontown, will ride to the site, according to the Rev. Ewing Marietta, an organizer of Thou Shall Not Move.

Speakers have been invited to the event, including local, county and state officials. U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey has been invited, as has retired state Sen. J. William Lincoln.

Gary Colatch, an organizer with Thou Shall Not Move, said organizers are awaiting confirmations from several speakers.

“We'll give each a couple of minutes,” Marietta said. Speeches will begin at about 7 p.m., Marietta said.

Following the speeches, a group of children will remove the cover from the monument, which is the first of 14 the group hopes to place throughout the Connellsville area, said Colatch.

Ewing said it was appropriate for the children to do the revealing because the group hopes to instill strong values in the young people in the Connellsville area, especially in light of the murder in the city over the weekend and the tire slashing event early Monday morning.

“Who else would we want?” said Marietta. “We're trying to affect the next generation (with the monuments.)”

Thou Shall Not Move was founded as an effort to help support the Connellsville Area School District after it was sued by the Freedom From Religion Foundation last year over a Ten Commandments monument on school property. The Wisconsin-based atheist group filed the lawsuit against the district on behalf of a student and parent who claim that they are disturbed by the monument's presence at the junior high school.

The statue was donated by the Fraternal Order of Eagles in 1957 and includes an inscription of the Ten Commandments. The organization gifted similar monuments to a number of school districts across the country.

While Thou Shall Not Move members are dedicated to doing what they can to ensure the monument stays at Connellsville Junior High, they have agreed to use funds from the sale of Ten Commandments yard signs to pay for placement of stone monuments at as many churches that want one.

Marietta said placing the first monument at the local Eagles is a way to recognize the great history of the organization and its dedication to placing Ten Commandments monuments at different schools decades ago.

Currently, there are approximately 25 churches on the list to get a monument placed on their properties.

The group has sold approximately 4,600 signs to help contribute to the monument fund. Each monument costs the group nearly $1,800.

Karl Polacek is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at kpolacek@tribweb.com or 724-626-3538.

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