Family defends decorations after neighborhood concern - WSMV Channel 4

Family defends decorations after neighborhood concern

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Some viewers contacted Channel 4 Thursday, saying they were shocked to see what they called "Nazi swastikas" decorating a Stokely Lane home in Hermitage.

The family said that's not the case at all.

"It's unfortunate, but it happens," said Sheena Patel of Hermitage. "We can, of course, help anyone understand why we have it or what's going on."

One week until Patel's wedding day, decorations hang from the chandeliers, flowers stretch down the stairs, lights reach up the windows and crews hang snowflakes from the trees outside.

Staying glued to her laptop, Patel's matron of honor helped in getting every little detail just right via Skype. The two never imagined obstacles would come up from a welcome sign at the front door featuring ancient Hindu symbols.

"I actually didn't even think about that," said Patel. "It's a part of my religion. It's a welcoming of our goddess Lakshmi who represents prosperity, wealth and good health."

Variations of the symbol have been used in many cultures for thousands of years until the Nazis adopted it in 1920 and used it so publicly, it became synonymous with them.

Living directly across the street from the Patels, World War II veteran Ben Laning said he never thought for a second the symbols decorating his neighbors' home had to do with Nazis.

"I would never associate with people who would hang a Nazi swastika, because I fought against it in World War II," said Laning. "Those people are as patriotic as they could be."

"I don't want them to think we're associated with anything else," said Patel. "This is just a religious affair, and we have the right to do so. We have the right to put this up, and we're not trying to offend anyone. We are just trying to celebrate a very joyous occasion."

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