“In God We Trust” now resides on the main wall of the Fresno City Council chamber.
Council Members Garry Bredefeld, Luis Chavez and Steve Brandau officially unveiled the words of America’s national motto during a brief ceremony before Thursday’s regularly scheduled council meeting.
The chamber’s main wall (behind the council dais) has always featured the obvious brand name – “City of Fresno.”
“In God We Trust” now holds a secondary but honored spot beneath our city’s name.
“This is a tremendous day. This is a historic day,” Bredefeld said to dozens of people gathered in the chamber. “This is absolutely the right thing to do.”
At Bredefeld’s urging, the council last month authorized the addition of “In God We Trust” to the wall. The vote was 6-0. Council Member Oliver Baines was absent.
Fresno isn’t the only city in California to have the national motto prominently displayed in its legislative chamber – but it is the largest.
The cost of the project – about $1,700 – was handled with donations. No taxpayer money was spent.
“We have people from all faiths today,” Bredefeld said. “That’s the beauty of ‘In God We Trust.’”
Any legislative chamber in a democracy can be a contentious place on occasion, Brandau said. In that regard, he added, Fresno’s is no different.
It is vital for Fresno’s lawmakers and the people they represent to carry those words – “In God We Trust” – to their hearts.
“I often pray for wisdom,” Brandau said. “I’m glad to have these words behind me.”
Chavez (as did Brandau) thanked Bredefeld for his leadership during the sometimes intense public debate leading up to last month’s council decision.
The presence of the national motto on the wall “is a constant reminder of the work we have to do in our community,” Chavez said.
The words up to this point were covered. Brandau grabbed a rope on one side. Chavez grabbed a rope on the other side. Bredefeld counted – one, two three. On three, Brandau and Bredefeld pulled their ropes.
The covering fell. “In God We Trust” was revealed. Audience members rose to their feet and applauded. Some cheered.
Said Bredefeld: “This belongs to you.”
Photo: The Fresno Bee