A historic war memorial known as the Mojave Desert Cross was returned to its rightful place in a fitting Veterans Day ceremony at Sunrise Rock.
The nearly 80-year-old war memorial cross had been at the center of a decade-long legal battle as the ACLU sought to have it removed from what was then federal land. The case went all the way to the Supreme Court, and the high Court overturned a lower court ruling which had held the cross unconstitutional.
Earlier this year, a settlement was reached transferring ownership of the property on which the memorial sits from federal to private hands.
On Sunday, Veterans Day, 100 people gathered at sunrise rock as a replacement cross was re-erected there. The Associated Press reports, “Henry Sandoz, who cared for the original 1930s cross as part of a promise to a dying World War I veteran, rededicated a new, 7-foot steel cross on the same hilltop before more than 100 people.”
The Congressional Prayer Caucus, members of which the ACLJ represented before the Supreme Court in an amicus brief defending the cross, released a statement saying, “The restoration of the Mojave memorial is a welcome victory, and will ensure that this historic symbol is preserved for future generations.”
This war memorial cross – a historic symbol of sacrifice – once again stands, honoring our military veterans who fought valiantly defending our freedom in World War I. That this cross remains today is a testament not just to our veterans but to all those who are willing to take a stand in defense of our heritage as a nation.
The ACLJ is pleased that this long fought battle to defend the cross has successfully resulted in the cross’s rededication, and hope that it will remain for generations to come as a tribute to our veterans. It could not have been a better way to truly celebrate Veterans Day.
Yesterday, a federal appeals court heard oral argument in a critical case we have been involved in to defend a historic war memorial from an angry atheist attack. When World War II veterans returned from fighting in Italy, they wanted to memorialize their brothers-in-arms who didn’t return home.
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