Military Veterans' Hope For Saving Mojave Preserve Memorial Rests With U.S. Supreme Court


In 1934 World War l veterans constructed a wooden cross on top of Sunrise Rock in the California Mojave National Preserve as a memorial to not only honor their fellow comrades who didn’t make it home from the war but in fact all Americans who have fallen in battle. The original cross is long gone but several subsequent replacements have been erected over the years without any issues whatsoever. Until now.

Enter Frank Buono, a former National Park Service employee who filed a lawsuit, with the eager assistance of the anti American ACLU, seeking to prevent the permanent display of the cross lest he be offended if he ever left his home in OREGON and decided to max out his carbon footprint by driving all the way down to southern California through the middle of a 1.6 million acre desert preserve and happened to look over and see the memorial. He argued through his anti American ACLU attorneys that the cross’ display on federal property violated the establishment clause of the First Amendment of our Constitution. The District Court where the original suit was filed and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal both ruled that the memorial is unconstitutional and must be removed. In the meantime, pending appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, the Ninth Circuit ordered the cross be covered up with a plywood box.

While the case was pending the Ninth Circuit’s response, Congress did what it could to help by designating Sunrise Rock a national memorial, symbolically barring its dismantling with the use of federal funds. Congress later attempted to convert Sunrise Rock to privately held property in a land swap exchange for another parcel of land but the anti American ACLU would have none of that.

Mr. Buono through his anti American ACLU attorneys filed a motion to not only enforce the previous court order preventing the display of the cross, but also to prohibit the land exchange. The District Court granted both motions. The Secretary of the Interior appealed, arguing that the district court abused its discretion. The Ninth Circuit disagreed saying the District Court did not abuse its discretion and the U.S. government was unable to show the lower court’s findings were clearly erroneous or that the District Court in fact made any errors in judgment.

So, this tiny cross in the middle of nowhere is unconstitutional huh? Just because it sits on land that belongs to the people of this country?

The First Amendment reads:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

A group of military veterans building a minuscule memorial out in the middle of nowhere in honor of their fellow soldiers who died in battle for their country doesn’t appear to me to be anything close to Congress creating law establishing any particular religion. How in the world could this country have become so screwed up when it comes to the clear and obvious intent of the founding fathers?

Answer, too damn many activist judges who create law from the bench with their own twisted partisan view of our Constitution, that’s how. Elections have everlasting consequences folks. Always have always will.

“A story untold is a story forgotten,” said Joe Davis, public affairs director for the VFW. “We must tell the story of our veterans and fallen heroes, and we must keep this veterans memorial.”

Henry and Wanda Sandoz, current and longtime caretakers of the memorial agree: “If they were to tear down the memorial which has been there for 75 years, I would lose faith in our government,” said Wanda Sandoz. Henry agreed, “It would be sad. It would be so sad.” The Sandoz’s have been caring for the memorial since 1984 when they promised their friend Rily Bembrey, a WWI veteran, on his death bed, that they would look after the monument. Bembrey was one of many veterans who erected the memorial after relocating to the desert after the war to find physical and emotional healing.

“If the plaintiff is so offended by the possibility of seeing this memorial cross in the desert, will he be offended when he drives by Arlington National Cemetery?” asked Jim Sims, National Senior Vice Commander of the Military Order of the Purple Heart. “It’s our opinion that this case is not about a single memorial cross, it is a larger issue of honoring veterans who served and sacrificed for our country.”

The American Legion is also concerned about the fate of the memorial. “If you don’t think this is not the first domino in a series, you’re not paying attention,” said Mark Seavey, Assistant National Legislative Director for The Legion. “The cross is emblematic of sacrifice, not religion.”

Please check out this resource regarding this story: Liberty Legal Institute

This entry was posted in Military Issues.

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