Coinciding with Memorial Day 2007, the nation's largest veteran's organization is collaborating with Christian legal groups in an effort to defend and protect war memorials featuring crosses from lawsuits that would remove them from public property.
The American Legion and the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) have launched a nationwide Defense of Veterans Memorials Project to identify and catalogue war memorials with Christian-themed symbols across the nation. Notification will be sent to ADF and the Liberty Legal Institute of any group's attempt to challenge their constitutionality.
"Stamping out these symbols of sacrifice is the first step to forgetting who's kept America free and what's made America great," said ADF senior counsel, Joe Infranco in a statement released prior to Thursday's official launch. "ADF, The American Legion, and Liberty Legal are joining together to ensure that we will never forget the sacrifice made by so many for our precious freedoms - including the freedom to honor our fallen heroes as we so choose."
Recent attempts by ACLU to have crosses removed from memorials in Mt. Soledad, Calif., and at the Sunrise rock cross in the Mojave Desert have made the project necessary. A similar case was found in Utah when the American Atheists, Inc., filed a lawsuit to force the removal of crosses posted on roads which memorialize highway patrol officers who have died while on duty.
Teaming with a thousand Alliance Defense Fund and Liberty Legal Institute attorneys, the 2.7 million-member American Legion will battle lawsuits filed against veterans' memorials by the ACLU and like-minded organizations such as the Americans United for Separation of Church ad State, Freedom from Religion Foundation, and the American Atheists.
ADF and the American Legion were scheduled to convene Thursday morning for an official press conference, where they would publicly announce the national effort to defend and protect veterans' memorials. They also planned to unveil a national strategy to halt legal attacks as America prepares to honor the fallen veterans at memorials across the nation this Memorial Day, May 28.