Today, the Mojave Veterans Memorial Cross rose again to its original glory and stature, made of steel pipe and standing seven-feet high overlooking Sunrise Rock in the Mojave National Preserve where it was first erected in 1934 to honor fallen WWI comrades. During a chilly, three-hour Veterans Day celebration, Liberty Institute, in conjunction with the VFW, the American Legion, longtime caretakers Henry and Wanda Sandoz and many other enthusiastic supporters, re-erected and re-dedicated the new, replacement cross and then took turns reflecting on the historic victory that followed a perilous 13-year religious freedom battle against the ACLU.
The brassy whine of a lone bugler playing “Taps” and the cadence of a local Boy Scout troop posting its Colors brought a welcomed contrast to Sunrise Rock, which had remained largely silent and vacant since 2010 when vandals desecrated and stole the original Mojave Cross after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled it was constitutional and should remain standing. The Mojave Desert Veterans Memorial is the only World War I Memorial designated by Congress as a National Memorial.
“This Veterans Day marks the conclusion of the fight for the Mojave Veterans Memorial Cross,” said Hiram Sasser, Director of Litigation for the Liberty Institute. Sasser served as counsel for the Veterans of Foreign Wars, The American Legion, and the Military Order of the Purple Heart during the long struggle to restore the Mojave Cross. “On the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, the cross rose again like a phoenix under the desert sun as the VFW raised and rededicated the memorial once more. The veterans, through their own service and sacrifice for a good greater than themselves, earned this moment.”