Two fallen mid-Missouri soldiers who had a monument in their honor removed last year from the Boone County Courthouse, will have highway signs dedicated to them next month. A bill sponsored by State Representative Chuck Basye (R-Rocheport) and State Senator Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia) passed this year that allows the signs to be put up in honor of Patrick Connor and Steven Farnen. Governor Jay Nixon (D) signed the legislation.
Both soldiers were killed in the first Gulf War. A monument to honor them was unveiled in 1992 at the Boone County Courthouse. It stood there for more than twenty years without any issues.
The Boone County Commission voted last year in support of removing that monument and placing it in a nearby cemetery. Atheists opposed the ichthus, or Jesus fish that was on the monument. They said the county could be sued for a government endorsement of religion.
“The families were hurt and insulted and both mothers told me, and this really bothered me, it was like their sons got killed all over again,” says Basye. “That really disturbs me when you hear something like that.”
The measure, sponsored by Basye and Schaefer, will rename U.S. 63 from Breedlove Drive in Sturgeon and Peabody Road in Columbia as the “U.S. Army Specialist Steven Paul Farnen Memorial Highway.” The section of U.S. 63 between Discovery Parkway and Interstate 70 in Columbia will become the “U.S. Navy Lieutenant Patrick Kelly Connor Memorial Highway.”
Basye says private donations paid for the highway signs.
“I know the families of both of these young men, the Farnems and Connors, are just absolutely thrilled that this is going to be happening,” says Basye.
The dedication will be at 10 a.m. at Battle High School in Columbia.