Veterans Day is this coming Sunday and many local schools will be holding programs on Friday of this week.
Area residents are urged to attend as a way of paying tribute to all men and women who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces. Their service and sacrifice to their country is appreciated beyond words.
This year also marks the 100th anniversary of the armistice of Nov. 11, 1918 which ended World War I and around which Veterans Day is now observed. Those soldiers fought for freedom around the world including protecting those freedoms found in the U.S. Constitution. How unfortunate it is that certain organizations and individuals continue to attack what should be simple remembrances of the ultimate sacrifice made by so many in the Armed Forces.
The latest example of this is a case in Maryland. In the median of a busy highway sits a 40-foot cross which was constructed in 1925 as a tribute to men from that area who died during World War I. The “Peace Cross” holds the names of 49 soldiers.
The granite and concrete cross stood there year after year as a simple but powerful reminder of sacrifices made during war. Then in 2014 a group known as The American Humanist Association came along and filed a lawsuit against Maryland officials claiming that the cross “discriminates against patriotic soldiers who are not Christian.” Unfortunately, it should come as no surprise in this era that two lower courts have ruled that the cross indeed violates the First Amendment because it sits on a parcel of land owned and maintained by a state commission.
Now the U.S. Supreme Court is involved as it has agreed to review the two lower court rulings. According to the Liberty Counsel, the High Court will rule on whether or not the cross is unconstitutional simply because it is shaped like a cross and whether or not upkeep of the property by the state “amounts to an excessive entanglement with religion in violation of the First Amendment.”
This case could go a long way to removing some previous bad interpretations of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause. It is unfortunate that it has to come to this, and that a memorial to fallen soldiers cannot just be viewed for what it is. —Mark Sherry