The fate of the Mt. Soledad cross

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – It’s been a legal limbo for decades, but lawmakers might decide the fate of the Mt. Soledad cross.

The Senate may approve a bill this week that would allow the Secretary of Defense to sell the property on which the cross stands, to the non-profit group, The Mount Soledad Veterans Memorial Association.

The House approved the bill, amended by Congressman Duncan Hunter, last week.

The issue of whether or not the cross is constitutional, and should stay on that land has been in the courts for 25 years now.

The battle has the ACLU representing the Jewish War Veterans, and another attorney representing an atheist and Vietnam vet, against the Department of Justice.

But if the President signs the bill, and the land is transferred to a private group, the government would be out of the business of religion, which is the basis of this case.

“That could change the picture. It would be a new development, and we’d have to look at that very closely to see what impact that might have on the case,” said David Loy.

Does that mean the case could be dismissed?

President and CEO of The Mount Soledad Memorial Association, Bruce Bailey, is ready for this to be over, for a judge to pull all the parties into a room.

“He’ll say folks, the facts have changed. Tell me what you think legally can be done,” said Bruce. If the bill is passed, the memorial has to remain a memorial. But how much will the land cost?

That is an unknown, but there is already a plan for a major fundraising campaign to help pay for it.

“With the number of people here in San Diego County who want to keep this memorial, these memorial walls and this cross just the way it is, I am very confident we would be able to be successful,” said Bruce.

In the meantime, moms like Whitney Robbins, will bring their children to Mt. Soledad for a history lesson.

“This is here for everyone to look at and remember the men and women who have sacrificed. This is appreciation. This is called appreciation,” she said.

Next year, the association plans to bring electricity up to the cross, so they can light the stairs and make it safer.

They are also putting a kiosk, so visitors can type in veterans name, and find out where the plaque is located.

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