A Controversial History: Mount Soledad Cross

As you drive down the I-5 near Soledad South, it’s hard not to notice the 43-foot cross jutting out from the peak of Mount Soledad. Located 10 minutes from campus on public property, the cross has been the centerpiece of a Korean War memorial for over 50 years.
Due to its location, the cross started a war of constitutionality and litigation that started in 1989 and has snowballed since.
Because the memorial is on public land, veteran Philip Paulson filed suit, claiming it displayed religious preference (Paulson is an atheist).
The plaintiffs in the case — the American Civil Liberties Union and Jewish War Veterans — contend that the “Easter” cross represents only Christian men and women who died in the war. The defendants, veterans from the Mt. Soledad Memorial Association, insist that the cross represents the sacrifice of all who gave their lives in service ­— not just the Christians.
While both sides want to honor fallen soldiers, neither can agree on how to do so.  On Jan. 4, a decision from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the cross unconstitutional. Judge Margaret McKeown stated that “the Memorial could [definitely] be modified to pass constitutional muster.”
But just a few days after the ruling, three Republican Congressmen introduced a bill to block the memorial’s removal — and this past Saturday, hundreds gathered on the mountaintop to protest the same. According to KGTV San Diego, because of the persistent nature of the debate, many believe the matter will be ultimately settled in the Supreme Court.
The Memorial is open to the public from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day.

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