The Supreme Court announced late Friday it will decide the fate of a nearly 100-year old World War I veterans memorial.
The Bladensburg World War I Veterans Memorial is a cross-shaped memorial erected in 1925 by local Gold-Star mothers and a local post of The American Legion to honor 49 Prince George’s County men who gave their lives while serving in WWI. The Gold-Star mothers who designed the memorial in 1919 chose a cross shape to recall the cross-shaped grave markers standing over the countless American graves on the Western Front of that war. One mother referred to the memorial as her son’s “grave stone.”
The original lawsuit was filed in 2012 by the American Humanist Association. They said the presence of the memorial on public property amounted to a government establishment of religion.
The American Legion, represented by First Liberty Institute and Jones Day, is asking the Justices to reverse a lower court decision that could lead to the destruction of the cherished memorial.
“There are some who want to erase the memory of the service and sacrifice of these 49 fallen servicemen of Prince George’s County,” First Liberty Institute president Kelly Shackelford said. “If this monument is bulldozed to the ground, it’s only a matter of time before the wrecking ball turns on Arlington National Cemetery and the thousands of memorials like this one across the country.”
Michael Carvin, lead counsel for The American Legion, pointed out the memorial honors the ultimate sacrifice the local men made for the nation.
“The Supreme Court should not allow their memory to be bulldozed,” Carvin said.