Thursday, June 20, 2019
Supreme Court Ruling on Cross Hailed as ‘Victory for Freedom’
Department of New York Commander Gary Schacher called the 7-2 Supreme Court ruling “a victory for freedom.”
In hailing the decision, American Legion National Commander Brett P. Reistad cited America’s constitutional commitment to freedom of religion and expression.
“This was not just about a single cross,”. Reistad said of Legion’s victory in The American Legion v. American Humanist Association. “This was about the right of a community to honor its fallen heroes. And that’s why the World War I veterans of Bladensburg sacrificed their lives, to protect the freedom of others. The American Legion does not consider these crosses, which honor so many veterans, to be religious memorials. But even if it were, freedom of religion is also a cherished right protected by our First Amendment. Americans can feel more confident today that veterans’ memorials, cemetery headstones and patriotic monuments throughout our country are safer as a result of this ruling.”
Made of granite and cement, the 40-foot Bladensburg Peace Cross was built in 1925 and paid for by local families, businesses and The American Legion to honor 49 World War I veterans from Prince George’s County in Maryland.