Friday, August 1, 2008

Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial With Cross On Public Land Ruled Constitutional by U.S. Federal Court

Mount Soledad is a wonderfully beautiful area in San Diego, located just south of La Jolla.

From there you have breathtaking blue water ocean views up and down the Pacific coastline. You can see toward the south, Coronado Island and beyond, to the north for miles of coastline toward Camp Pendleton.

The Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial was erected there after World War I with the mission to preserve the public site and honor those veterans and active military who have served our country during times of conflict. Also to educate the public about armed service and sacrifices that veterans made and make to preserve the freedoms we enjoy as Americans.

The original cross part of the memorial was erected in 1913 and replaced over the years when damaged. The current concrete cross is the centerpiece of the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial, surrounded by six concentric walls of granite plaques honoring war veterans.

The current 29-foot concrete cross was erected by the Mount Soledad Memorial Association in 1954 to honor Korean War veterans.
A lawsuit had been filed by the American Civil Liberties Union in the 1980s and sought to remove the cross. The plaintiff was an atheist who argued that the cross was a religious symbol and that its display on public land was unconstitutional.

The U.S. Federal Court, San Diego district, ruled on July 29, 2008, that this cross memorializes war veterans and does not violate the separation of Church and State.
The court decision on July 29, 2008, by U.S. District Judge Larry Alan Burns resolved the 20-year legal controversy, which has been visited by both the U.S. Supreme Court and U.S. Congress.

Judge Burns ruled that the memorial cross held more secular value in its message to honor war veterans than religious significance. "The court finds the memorial at Mt. Soledad, including its Latin cross, communicates the primarily non-religious messages of military service, death, and sacrifice," Burns wrote. "As such, despite its location on public land, the memorial is constitutional."

Supporters of the monument had fought for the cross to be recognized for its historic significance. In 2006 a federal judge ruled in favor of the cross's removal. However, the U.S. The Supreme Court blocked the ruling and allowed Congress time to transfer the cross to Federal ownership under a law signed by President Bush in August, 2007.

Judge Burns noted that the cross is also displayed "along with numerous purely secular symbols in an overall context that reinforces its secular message."
This beautiful memorial is about honoring veterans of the U.S. Armed Services, and we support the federal court's decision is correct.

My wife and I have family member war veterans who are proudly memorialized there with thousands of others.

Posted by Harrison K. Long, Explore Properties Group, August 1, 2008
Source: Christian Post Reporter, July 31, 2008

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