Supervisor Mitzelfelt Praises Pending Restoration Of The Mojave Cross
(Victor Valley)– â€“ San Bernardino County Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt today praised a settlement that will clear the way for the historic Mojave Cross to be restored at its original location later this year.
â€śThis historic icon of the desert, which simply and elegantly commemorates the sacrifice of those who served in World War I and later conflicts, is as much a part of our local and national history as any historical building or landmark, and I look forward to its restoration,â€ť said Supervisor Mitzelfelt, whose district includes Sunrise Rock near Cima off Interstate 15, where the cross was located. â€śIt should never have become a political football by those with a misunderstanding of the establishment clause of the First Amendment.â€ť
The cross, first erected in 1934 and maintained by Veterans of Foreign Wars, of which Supervisor Mitzelfelt is a life member, was the subject of a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union more than a decade ago, alleging that the cross violated the establishment clause of the First Amendment because it was located within the federally owned Mojave National Preserve. U.S. Rep. Jerry Lewis, R-Redlands, successfully pushed through a bill that authorized a land swap to put the one-acre parcel on which the cross sat in private hands.
That legislation was invalidated by a U.S. District Court and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals before the U.S. Supreme Court overturned those decisions in 2010.
The cross was stolen in May 2010 by vandals and a new cross will be erected and the area fenced. There will be signs stating that the parcel is private property and there will be a plaque explaining the history of the cross.
â€śWhen so much of our desert history has been lost due to excessive restrictions by the federal government, it is satisfying to see such a poignant and important part of our history â€“ a part of our history that honors those who have sacrificed to preserve the freedoms we enjoy today â€“ finally be restored to its rightful place and get the respect it deserves,â€ť Supervisor Mitzelfelt said.