ACLU’S QUARTER-CENTURY EFFORT TO REMOVE CROSS THWARTED

by Capt Joseph R. John (Ret.), ©2015, Chairman, CombatVeteransForCongress

(Oct. 5 , 2015) —  For 26 years, the secular extremist American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) had been filing suit against the Mount Soledad National Veterans War Memorial in La Jolla, CA, in order to bring down the Memorial “Cross,” alleging that the Memorial “Cross” honoring Combat Veterans has been on “public land” and, therefore, violates the Establishment of Religion Clause of the First Amendment. However, because of a bill authored by Congressman Duncan D. Hunter, Maj/USMC (R-CA-52) an endorsed Combat Veterans For Congress, the Mount Soledad National Veterans War Memorial has now been transferred to “private land.” That has an enormous impact on the ACLU’s lawsuit, which is pending in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

With the Mount Soledad National Veterans War Memorial case pending in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in which the ACLU is demanding destruction of the Memorial “Cross,” Congressman Duncan D. Hunter took action to save the Memorial “Cross” by the introduction of a bill in Congress that authorized the sale of the Mt. Soledad National Veterans War Memorial to a private organization, saving it “as it is, where it is” for the enjoyment of generations of Americans to come.  The bill authorized the sale of a half-acre of land in Mount Soledad Park on which the Memorial “Cross” is located to the non-profit and private hands of the Mt. Soledad Memorial Association, and took ownership out of the hands of the Department of Defense. Cong. Hunter’s bill followed the example of how another Veterans Memorial “Cross’ was saved from destruction by the ACLU in the Mojave Desert.  Congress previously transferred custody of the Mojave Desert Veterans Memorial Cross to a private organization, after a judgement was rendered in favor of the Mojave Desert Veterans Memorial Cross in a 2010 Supreme Court ruling (Buono vs. Salazar).  The DOD authorized the sale of the Mount Soledad Veterans War Memorial to the Mt. Soledad Memorial Association in the National Defense Act of 2015, which was adopted by both the US House and US Senate and was signed by the President last December.

The Mount Soledad National Veterans War Memorial was originally established by American Veterans to honor Korean War Veterans; the War Memorial  intent was expanded to honor all veterans, especially those who gave their lives in defense of the Republic and American freedom. The Memorial was established on land originally owned by the City of San Diego; the land was transferred to the federal government DOD in 2006 by a bill authored by Congressman Duncan L. Hunter, USA/Vietnam Combat Veteran (Ranger) (R-CA-52). It now has some 3,500 plaques honoring Combat Veterans from every War in the 239-year history of the nation, many of those Combat Veterans gave their last full measure of devotion in the defense of the Republic, on tiered walls beneath a 29-foot cross honoring all veterans atop Mount Soledad.

Rees Lloyd, Esq (USA) and Joe Infranco, co-founders of the Defense of Veterans Memorials Project, stayed the course in their defense of the National Veterans War Memorial.  Rees Lloyd, Joe Infranco, Hiram Sasser, Kelly Schackleford, Attorney Pete Lepiscopo, and Liberty Institute also supported the legal defense of the Veterans Memorial Project.  In his singular and remarkable pro bono effort to save the Mount Soledad Cross, Chuck LiMandri, Esq., founder of the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund, led the court case, and deserves special recognition for carrying the legal battle against ACLU almost alone for quite some time. The 28 endorsed Combat Veterans For Congress who have served in Congress, the Board of Directors of the Combat Veterans For Congress PAC, and thousands of Combat Veterans in the database have supported the effort to save the Memorial “Cross.” All Patriotic Americans who donated financially to support the court case to defend the Memorial “Cross” deserve special thanks for helping to save the Mount Soledad Veterans War Memorial “as it is, where it is.”

The Mt. Soledad Memorial Association announced on Monday, July 21, 2015, that the purchase of the National Veterans War Memorial for $1.4-million was finalized on July 17, 2015.  That transaction effectively transferred ownership of the memorial site honoring veterans from “public land” under federal ownership to “private land” under the Mt. Soledad Memorial Association ownership, a non-governmental, non-profit, private organization. The Association has maintained the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial since its founding in 1954 in conjunction with American Legion La Jolla Post 275.

While there is no way to know with certainty whether the ACLU will finally cease its 26-year litigation aimed at destroying the Mount Soledad National War Memorial, now that it is on private land, the Mt. Soledad Memorial Association and those public interest law firms which have been representing veterans against the ACLU’s lawsuits have hailed the passage of Congressman Duncan D. Hunter’s land-transfer legislation as signaling that the Mount Soledad National War Memorial will at last remain “as it is, where it is” without further litigation molestation by the ACLU.

All Patriotic Americans can now take comfort in the knowledge that the Mount Soledad National War Memorial will be well cared for and free from the illegitimate attacks by those individuals who have been funding the ACLU’s efforts to destroy the Memorial “Cross.”  Congressman Duncan D. Hunter, a courageous Combat Marine Veteran and true American Patriot, continued his ceaseless efforts to protect the Memorial “Cross,” as his father, Congressman Duncan L Hinter (Ret), fought to protect it before him.  Their efforts were successful and now the Mount Soledad National Veterans War Memorial, its plaques, and its Memorial “Cross” can be enjoyed by the descendants of those 3500 Combat Veterans honored on plaques at the base of the Memorial “Cross,” and it will be revered by generations of Patriotic Americans to come.  Congressman Hunter would want us to give special recognition to Chuck LiMandri, Esq, and Rees Lloyd, Esq., a US Army Veteran, for their courageous fight in opposition to the intolerant, extremist ACLU’s 26-year attempt to bring down the Memorial “Cross.”

Copyright 2015, Capt. Joseph R. John. All Rights Reserved. This material can only be posted on another Web site or distributed on the Internet by giving full credit to the author.  It may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without permission from the author.

Joseph R. John, USNA ‘62

Capt              USN(Ret)

Chairman, Combat Veterans For Congress PAC

2307 Fenton Parkway, Suite 107-184

San Diego, CA 92108

Fax: (619) 220-0109

http://www.CombatVeteransForCongress.org

Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I. Send me!” -Isaiah 6:8

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SAN DIEGO’S MOUNT SOLEDAD CROSS TO STAY

The Memorial Cross has been approved by Congress for transfer to private land