Henry and Wanda Sandoz had a busy day today with the County Supervisors Honoring them for keeping a promise to an WWI Veteran all the way to the United States Supreme Court and saving the famed Mojave Cross. The Cross is a World War One monument errected by the VFW in 1934 in what is now the Mojave Preserve.
After their morning with the San Bernardino County Supervisors they met with Congressional Candidate Gregg Imus and several supporters at the Roadhouse Cafe in Yucca Valley.
The keepers of a controversial memorial cross honoring soldiers lost in World War I were lauded by San Bernardino County supervisors, even as plans advance for returning the Mojave Cross to its remote home.
Henry and Wanda Sandoz have cared for the cross, which sat for years atop a rocky Mojave Desert hill off Cima Road south of Interstate 15, since the mid-1980s. Supervisors honored the couple on Tuesday, Aug. 21, at the board’s weekly meeting.
The cross became a lightning rod for the issue of religious symbols on public land eight years ago, when a National Park Service official questioned its presence on federal land in the Mojave National Preserve. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled the cross could stand until a lower court ruling was reconsidered, prompting someone to steal the cross.
The long-running court battle was resolved earlier this year when the park service agreed to trade five acres owned by the Sandozes in the preserve for the one-acre parcel around Sunrise Rock, where the cross stood.
Mitzelfelt said Henry Sandoz has built a replacement cross and that officials hope to complete the land transfer and replace the monument on the hilltop by Veterans Day, Nov. 12, at the latest.
The Sandozes said they looked forward to the cross standing again.
“We’re just happy it’s almost over and that war memorial and that cross will go back where it belongs,” Wanda Sandoz told supervisors.