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Aug 15, 2012 8:30 PM by Matt Stafford

Sept. 11 memorial defends display of steel cross

NEW YORK (AP) - Lawyers for the Sept. 11 memorial at the World Trade Center site say a judge should toss out a lawsuit by a national atheists group seeking to stop display of a cross-shaped steel beam found among trade center wreckage.

The lawyers say in papers filed in federal court in Manhattan on Monday the 17-foot-tall beam will be displayed as a historical object. They say the beam tells part of the story of the Sept. 11, 2001, rescue and recovery effort.

They say the display of the cross among 1,000 artifacts, photos, oral histories and videos is no different from the showing of hundreds of religious paintings routinely displayed at government-supported art museums.

The nonprofit group American Atheists sued the National September 11 Memorial & Museum's operators last year, saying the beam's display would be unconstitutional.

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