As an atheist, I agree with you.<quoted text>
All religious iconography is symbolic -- some more so than others. I don't find a cross any more or less offensive as the yin yang, the karmic wheel, a swastika (the original one) or the golden arches.
Atheism, at it's core, is a desire not to be included in the world of religion or faith-based ideologies and that is a great thing. An ideology based on no preconceptions would be a great thing. That is why I find it so ironic that a radical atheist's response to religious culture is either "I don't have something so you can't have something" or "if you have something I want to have it too". At best it's ironic, at worst it's petulant and childish.
I don't believe that the inclusion of religious iconography is a publicly funded museum constitutes either making a law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. I also believe that attempting to erase any hint of religious culture from any public institution is reductio ad absurdum of the First Amendment.
I say let them have their cross. I don't really see how it hurts me or affects me in any way.
These folks are sincere in their beliefs and it if brings them some small measure of comfort in the middle of what surely would be an intensely sad and emotional experience (for anyone), so be it. Move on.
A publicly funded and or sanctioned nativity scene in the middle of town square would be something else.