Why A CBS News Story From 1993 Never Aired Until Now

Bernard Coffindaffer’s story was set to make national news over 20 years ago. And it almost did. Almost.

Just two days before CBS’s “Sunday Morning” was scheduled to air a Bill Geist report on the West Virginia coal man and his personal mission to install groups of three crosses on private land, but visible from highways, Coffindaffer died.


“We decided it would be wrong to air our report,” Geist told CBS viewers this past weekend. He also added, “Turns out, his story was just beginning.”

This past Easter Sunday, CBS aired portions of the original report on Coffindaffer and his crosses, adding an update about the project and a woman who says during a daily devotional she was inspired to continue the work started by the West Virginia coal man over two decades ago.

If you have spent any time driving on the highways across America, chances are you have seen Coffindaffer’s work.

Although he passed away over twenty tears ago, the West Virginia businessman left 1,842 reminders (in the form of three-cross displays) of his life and belief in Christianity.


In addition to telling the story of Coffindaffer’s dream to cover the earth with his three-cross displays, Geist introduced viewers to Sara Abraham, “a Mississippi mom and housewife” inspired to carry on the work of a man she never met.


Abraham’s non-profit “Crosses Across America” was founded ten years after Coffindaffer’s death and claims 1,400 volunteers working to “preserve, maintain, and construct roadside crosses across America.”

Their latest installation, near highway 20 in Mississippi is a 110-foot tall cross with 64-foot wide arms, weighing more than 25 tons. The massive cross is spotlighted in the report.


Watch the 22-year-old story that finally made it to air: