Society

Family Of Grace Tam, 11, Forced To Take Down Cross They Placed At Ice Caves In Her Memory

| by Khier Casino

The U.S. Forest Service has asked the family of an 11-year-old girl who died at the Big Four Ice Caves in Verlot, Washington, to remove the cross they had placed in her memory.

Grace Tam was killed in July 2010 after being struck by a chunk of ice the size of a pickup truck.

She was hiking with her family that day and were told not to go inside the cave, but despite following instructions, Grace was killed outside when the ice fell, KIRO-TV reports.

Her family placed a pink cross outside the caves over a year ago.

But the U.S. Forest Service recently demanded that the family take down the cross because it was a religious symbol and against regulations.

Grace's father, John Tam, wrote to the Forest Service in an email:

"Please note we took the day off & went up the Ice Caves & removed Gracie's cross per yours' & US forest service requirement.  Please note every so often, I will be still going up there with a temporary cross.”

Tam told KIRO that the family promised to remove it by the end of September. He hiked in Tuesday and took down the cross.

"We don't want to be seen as taking apposition on religion one way or another,” said District Ranger Peter Forbes, of the U.S. Forest Service. “It's not that we plan to disrespect the individual's wishes, it's public land. If everyone felt they had the right to do that, those things would be popping up all over.”

The Forest Service installed a plaque in July to honor Grace Tam. It also served as a warning to others of the dangers the ice fields can inflict, HeraldNet notes.

Sources: KIRO SeattleHeraldNet