PLANO, Texas, April 23, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Liberty Institute announces a milestone victory in the 11-year battle with the ACLU over the Mojave Desert Veterans Memorial – a Cross monument that, prior to the ACLU lawsuit in 2001, stood quietly on public land honoring veterans for 67 years. Today, U.S. District Court Judge Robert J. Timlin signed an order ending the ACLU's lawsuit and paving the way for the original memorial site on Sunrise Rock to transfer to the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), so they can restore the Memorial. The U.S. Congress originally authorized the land transfer in 2003.
"This is a great victory that brings the veterans one step closer to restoring this World War I memorial to its rightful place in the desert and in history," said Hiram Sasser, litigation director for Liberty Institute. "We are pleased the government and the ACLU could resolve their remaining differences and begin the healing process for the millions of veterans who have endured this case for over a decade."
According to the recent settlement, the Federal Government will transfer to the VFW, whose members erected the Memorial in 1934 and are eager to restore it, the title for the one-acre parcel on which the Memorial was established. Liberty Institute and the VFW will host a ceremony to re-dedicate the Mojave Desert Cross at a date yet to be determined.
Currently, Sunrise Rock sits vacant, except for plenty of sand, indigenous cacti and rattlesnakes, because vandals desecrated and stole the memorial 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.
Although today's settlement ends the ACLU's lawsuit to tear down the Mojave Desert Veterans Memorial, still pending is the VFW's lawsuit against the federal government to ensure the implementation of the land transfer.
Erected by World War I veterans in 1934, the Mojave Desert Veterans Memorial is the only World War I Memorial designated by Congress as a National Monument.
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 sits on public land. Most recently, Liberty Institute appealed the case to the U.S. Supreme Court along with the U.S. Solicitor General. Liberty Institute also launched a national public awareness campaign, Don't Tear Me Down, to bring attention to the plight of veterans memorials that contain religious imagery. A video about the Mojave Cross received nearly 2 million views on YouTube. Today, a patriotic song, Don't Tear Me Down, can be downloaded at www.DontTearMeDown.com with proceeds going toward fighting the ACLU and others in these battles over memorials.
Liberty Institute is a non-profit legal group dedicated to defending and restoring religious freedoms across America. For information about Liberty Institute, visit www.LibertyInstitute.org.