May 20, 2010
Linda Slater, 760 252-6122
Tracy Schmaler, 202 514-2007
A replica of the cross removed last week from the site of the National World War I Memorial in Mojave National Preserve was installed sometime during the night without authorization from the National Park Service. Park employees reported seeing the new cross this morning around 7:00 a.m. The new cross is mounted at the same location as the removed cross, on Sunrise Rock along Cima Road.
A court injunction remains in place against displaying a cross at Sunrise Rock. Park employees are preparing to remove the replica cross today.
Litigation surrounding the memorial has been ongoing since March 2001, when a lawsuit was
filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, arguing that the display of a cross in the memorial violated the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution. Congress designated the site a national memorial commemorating United States participation in World War I and honoring the American veterans of that War. The National Park Service was subsequently enjoined from displaying the cross.
Park law enforcement is investigating and is asking for the public’s assistance. Meanwhile,
investigation of the removal of the original cross is ongoing. Anyone with information about either incident is asked to call the Mojave National Preserve tip line at 760-252-6120.