LAFAYETTE, Calif. – The large sign at a contentious war memorial that tallies the number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq will be shrunk to half its size after city officials and memorial organizers reached an agreement Monday night.
The current 64-square-foot sign is about twice the size the city allows without a permit on residential property.
"I think it's a good idea to have an agreement with the city because I think there's a lot more that can happen at this site in the future and we want to be in the good graces of the city," memorial organizer Jeff Heaton told television station KTVU.
Heaton also agreed to restrictions on candlelight vigils at the site. No longer will candles be left unattended beneath the crosses, which spurred fire concerns from nearby residents.
The hillside memorial, which also includes 1,600 crosses, has stirred emotional debate in this upscale suburb east of San Francisco. The sign has been vandalized twice since it was raised on Veterans Day last year.
Organizers said they planned to continue erecting crosses until they have one for every U.S. soldier killed in the war. As of Sunday, at least 3,122 members of the U.S. military have died since the war began in March 2003.