SUMTER, SC (WACH) ?? James Ward says he was all excited to take his family to see the nativity scene at Memorial Lake Saturday afternoon.
However, the display had been taken down when Ward and his family arrived.
??When we came home from church, we looked it up online, and we found out it is Military Religious Freedom Foundation,?? said James Ward, a retired Airman.
The foundation received more than 40 phone calls and pictures of the Nativity scene asking for it to be removed.
Mikey Weinstein, President of the Military Freedom Religious Foundation, contacted the Pentagon, who then contacted Shaw Air Force Base requesting it to remove the traditional Christmas display.
A statement released by Shaw Air Force Base says, ??All faith-based and secular groups were offered an opportunity to put up holiday displays; however, only one group elected to do so resulting in the nativity scene being the sole display.??
Though Shaw made the offer, Weinstein says they were in violation of Air Force instruction 1-1 section 2.11.
??Our issues are not with the nativity scene at all,?? said Weinstein. ??It was the time, place, and manner in where it was being utilized.??
Lots of folks unhappy the display was taken down shared their concerns on the Shaw Air Force Base Facebook page.
James Ward says he hopes to one day sit down with the group who spoke out against the display, because even though they have different views, he says he respects them for standing up for their beliefs.
??I respect them for coming forward even though they don??t have the same beliefs I do, ??said Ward. ??I think if we can sit down, maybe we can come to some kind of understanding.??
All faith based and secular groups wishing to place a holiday display on the grounds of the Shaw Air force Chapel this year are encouraged to coordinate with the Shaw Chaplain staff.