December 3, 2015
American Legion prevails in legal defense of Bladensburg Memorial Cross
American Legion National Commander Dale Barnett expressed support for a U.S. District judge's ruling this week that dismissed a lawsuit that sought to remove a cross that overlooks a war memorial monument in Bladensburg, Md. A plaque at the memorial site explains that the “Memorial Cross [is] Dedicated to the heroes of Prince George’s County Maryland who lost their lives in the Great War for the liberty of the world.”
Judge Deborah K. Chasanow's 36-page opinion cites “the nature, context, and history” of the monument before concluding that “the location [of the cross] among the other monuments of Veterans Memorial Park underscores its secular and commemorative nature. In addition, the Monument has gone unchallenged for decades.”
"I am delighted that the court recognizes what The American Legion has been saying all along,” Barnett said. “This monument was erected not as a tribute to any preferred religion of the state, but rather to honor our brothers in arms who lost their lives in what we once thought of as the ‘Great War for the liberty of the world.’ It’s ironic that the monument to their tenaciousness in defense of the values we hold dear as a republic should itself become a battlefield in defense of liberty.”
The American Legion erected the Bladensburg veterans memorial in 1925. The memorial is among other memorial crosses under siege by civil-liberty groups that want them removed from government property.
“It should not be necessary in the marketplace of ideas for individuals to assert that the destruction of historical monuments is needed to prevail against a perceived threat to the Constitution,” Barnett said. “Our form of government is stronger than that.”
View more pressreleases