A 7-foot-tall cross-shaped war memorial at the center of a decade-old national dispute will soon return to its perch atop Sunrise Rock east of Baker in the Mojave Desert, following the settlement of a court case that wound its way from California to the Supreme Court and back.
Critics have long argued that the symbol should not be allowed on public land in the Mojave National Preserve. They say the Christian symbol violates the Constitution’s First Amendment, which prohibits the government from endorsing any religion.
The settlement announced Tuesday would appear to be the final chapter in a saga during which the cross was ordered to be shielded by a plywood box from public view, stolen, reconstructed and torn down again — all while the courts debated constitutional questions.
To Henry and Wanda Sandoz, who promised one of the veterans who first erected the memorial 78 years ago that they would look after it after his death, the Mojave Cross saga goes far beyond legal issues.
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