Debate over crosses at Camp Pendleton memorial
Fight over having symbols removed
- Duration 7:15
- Date Apr 12, 2012
Fight over having symbols removed
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A memorial to US Marines who gave their lives for America.
The memorial is under attack now several Marines erecting two crosses in Camp Pendleton to honor their fallen comrades.
But a group of atheists now says those crosses must come down Adam Housley reporting live from Camp Pendleton California -- -- John no one even knew about these crosses over the course of the last ten years until a newspaper article last fall detail the location and even included a picture.
Now there is a battle over whether these cautious and stay or come down.
Planted atop a remote hill the middle of California's Camp Pendleton Marine Corps base -- to thirteen -- crosses.
Originally erected by marine's grieving over lives lost in the war on terror this site established for reflection has become grounds for controversy.
It's not a religious spot at all.
It plays for the Marines.
To grieve and to ground.
To let go of the burdens.
Of what they have in their -- that they can go back down that hill back into battle and put their own lives on the line can.
-- Mendoza husband was one of seven Marines who originally planted across here back in 2003.
All of those original 73 have since been killed in action including Karen's husband -- It's a symbol of sacrifice regardless of what.
What you think prey like.
Don't like but not everyone agrees and several atheist groups have filed complaints with the Marine Corps and threaten lawsuits arguing that crosses our religious symbol.
And violate the separation of church and state.
This Christian cross you know needs to go to a private Christian -- installation.
And we need to stick to things that honor everyone equally and maintain neutrality towards government.
Getting to the crosses is no easy task -- you -- symbols of our sorrow and festivities.
Rocks left my service members widows and children represent the birdie and battle to make -- 3000 foot climb up this hill.
It wasn't intended.
To be a religious memorial.
It was intended just to -- to provide.
And a dignified memorial to their fallen comrades.
A group that filed the original complaint the military association of -- -- free thinkers say they want the memorial the status -- the crosses to go and replaces something also that globe or eagle or a flag.
The common dot of the Marines John is expected to rule on this any day.
Jonathan Serrie reports important to me is that we're not treating -- recognizing everybody's contribution.
Why should we implicitly exclude.
Those who are not Christian this is not a place of solace for somebody goes up there.
If we had a star of David -- we recognize that that simple system was inclusive of everybody now and I don't think Jews would think that.
We need a symbol system that includes everybody for their sacrifice and this is not.
To the prejudice and having individual memorials all over the country for every kind of religion but not on federal grounds and certainly not on a marine base Rachel how you answer that argument.
I say Arlington national cemetery isn't decorated with -- and I think that the -- as -- traditional memorial.
Not as a cross is a traditional memorial -- and if I -- into how brutal this on individual at my -- I have a -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- able to respond to every -- out ideas have a moment I'd love that.
Hold on -- -- -- so what we're dealing with here is that when considered in context and when you listen to -- Mendoza and when you listen to the people speak about why.
They erected these.
It hasn't secular meaning if you look at that this Supreme Court case of 2005 would be an important.
Where they allowed the ten commandments to stay on government property was because it had a secular purpose -- historical and social value.
A historical and social meaning and this -- sending in Marines directed that those cross has made very clear that was their purpose.
They're trying to promote some sort of religious agenda.
They're trying to simply remember the fallen soldiers and whatever works for them and this is not -- offensive in your face.
Religious statement on other religions do have -- as well so I think that they should be allowed to let these stay up and a star David if it helps you through this.
Put whatever you want to know how he -- that.
Well John -- -- John I know you're chomping at the -- to get back guinier but let me bring back Adam -- lead into the discussion because a very important point came in the middle of Adam's story Adam.
-- windows is one of the Marines who we wrecked of these crosses.
He has now been killed in combat along with two of the other seven Marines who erected this memorial right.
-- John -- eerie coincidence today is his race birthday we interviewed his widow yesterday -- she -- that fact kind of an eerie coincidence we do this story look at this.
Wal-Mart and taken a note also.
Camp -- is massive it's vast this is not an official site this was as you mentioned seven Marines who went up this hill it's extremely brutal.
And made this makeshift memorial it's become a bit more permanent but there's a vast open area here in the Marines didn't make this an official site of the Marines this was done by seven men.
On the wrong yes so John what you know -- -- the atheist morale and wanna go pick another Hilltop and build their own memorial why can't -- If it's off the 125000.
Acres -- Camp Pendleton that's fine the reason we're talking about it today is obviously it is not invisible it's real we know about it it's been and the suffers a bit.
Is an example of sanctioning by the government.
So the government is responsible for tolerating this symbol.
Which is a Christian symbol it is not a Jewish symbol it is not a sectarian symbol and all of our monuments are important arguments do not have a religious overtone -- individual graves at Arlington reflect the individual belief system of the person who died in honor of their country.
It's not a statement for all military when we put.
Across -- star of David or an atheist sign.
On the tombstone of somebody at Arlington -- at their life but.
That argument I mean these were seven Marines who hyped up 3000 feet onto a hillside to erect a cross in memory of their friends.
Well what if I go up that hill and erect something else you know it because somebody does it doesn't.
And I think the floor at.
No NIC go well I don't think I shouldn't be going for I I think it's wrong I go for it.
All right I don't -- whatever -- these people remember their fallen soldiers is what they aren't going exact law stand up and have.
It didn't it well but they're not have been very lucky and what's not right I'm not as certain other well I not I think that I think that the political correctness here in the fact that somebody -- elect their violated.
Bite of if somebody feeling violated by the fact that across was put up by a marine to support enterprises realize the what is I don't believe in the system as well their belief system and it and they they -- they generally say their lines -- this country around we are gonna say they've realized that this country we're gonna have to leave it there we will -- -- in your wallet doesn't say anything other Manning got the crowd into.
Sparing our viewers up and say that the marine commandant is going to make a decision as Adam -- -- said.
Adam thanks for joining us Rachel's self John Flannery as well saying -- we'll keep an eye on this controversy.