A 40-foot-tall cross in Bladensburg, Md., that was erected in 1925 has been refurbished and was rededicated on Veterans Day.
The so-called “Peace Cross” was originally erected to honor residents of Prince George’s County, Md., who died during World War I. In 1985, it was rededicated as a memorial to all deceased veterans.
The cross became the subject of litigation when the American Humanist Association (AHA) sued to challenge the state’s ownership of the religious symbol. The AHA argued that the cross, as the preeminent symbol of Christianity, did not honor all veterans. A federal appeals court agreed with the AHA, but in 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court in American Legion v. American Humanist Association reversed that decision and ruled that the cross could remain on public land.
Over the years, the cross had fallen into disrepair. During the rededication ceremony, local and state politicians spoke about their efforts to refurbish the religious symbol, and some criticized the AHA for filing the lawsuit.
On its “Wall of Separation” blog, Americans United noted that no matter what political leaders may say, the cross does not represent all veterans, observing that it “simply can’t represent non-Christians. Thus, it memorializes some veterans – those who happen to be Christians,” and not others, honoring not all veterans but celebrating religious majoritarianism instead.