WHAT: This Veterans Day, the drama surrounding the Mojave Desert Veterans Memorial Cross, originally erected by veterans to honor their fallen WWI comrades in 1934, continues to unfold much like a Hollywood movie. In addition to being the crux of a 13-year court battle that reached the U.S. Supreme Court before it was ruled constitutional, and after being bagged, put in a box, torn down and stolen by vandals, one week before a new, replacement cross is to be re-erected in its original location on Sunrise Rock, the stolen cross has mysteriously reappeared hundreds of miles away on the side of the road.
This Sunday, don’t miss the powerful conclusion when the Mojave Cross, a 7-ft cross of steel built by longtime caretaker Henry Sandoz, is restored to its former glory during a public ceremony.
WHO: Liberty Institute, in conjunction with the VFW, a color guard, and the Mojave Cross’ longtime caretakers Henry and Wanda Sandoz, will host veterans and their supporters. The American Legion will also present a special commendation to the Sandozes for their heroism and tireless dedication to preserving the cross.
WHEN: Veterans Day, Sunday, Nov. 11:
- 11 AM, Cross will be raised prior to ceremony
- 1 PM, Rededication ceremony begins
DETAILS: In April, U.S. District Judge Robert J. Timlin signed an order ending the ACLU’s lawsuit and paving the way for the original one-acre memorial site on Sunrise Rock to transfer to the VFW, so they could restore the cross. The U.S. Congress authorized the land transfer in 2003.
Currently, Sunrise Rock sits vacant, except for plenty of indigenous cacti and rattlesnakes because vandals desecrated and stole the cross after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the memorial in 2010. In the same ruling, they also sent the case back to the district court to review the land transfer. In recent days, the cross mysteriously reappeared with an anonymous note and was tied to a fence post in Half Moon, CA in the San Francisco Bay area. The condition of the recovered cross is uncertain and is expected to remain under police supervision until it is returned to the Sandozes.
Liberty Institute represented several major veterans groups as amici in The Supreme Court case, Salazar v. Buono. In addition, Liberty Institute represents the Mt. Soledad Memorial Association in a similar battle over the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial that includes a cross and it sits on public land.
NOTE: Attendees should bring lawn chairs to enjoy the rededication events and warm clothes to combat the desert temperatures forecasted to drop into the 40s.
About Liberty Institute
Liberty Institute is a nonprofit legal group dedicated to defending and restoring religious liberty across America — in our schools, for our churches and throughout the public arena. Liberty’s vision is to reestablish religious liberty in accordance with the principles of our nation’s Founders. For information, visit www.LibertyInstitute.org.