Today, U.S. Congressman Duncan Hunter (CA-52) introduced the War Memorial Protection Act to allow the inclusion of religious symbols as part of military monuments. The legislation follows the latest ruling from the Ninth Circuit declaring the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial unconstitutional.
"The latest ruling on the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial is a disservice to anyone who has ever served in America's armed forces, especially those who have made the ultimate sacrifice," said Congressman Hunter, a veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. "Mt. Soledad is a symbol of military service and tradition. Ensuring it remains intact is not only important to the San Diego community, but the millions of other Americans who have served in America's armed forces and defended freedom in the face of immense danger and personal risk.
"The War Memorial Protection Act is just as much about Mt. Soledad as it is every other war memorial across the country. From Fort Rosecrans to Arlington National Cemetery, America honors its war dead and military heroes for their willingness to step forward and protect others. In cases where religious elements are present, the fact that these monuments stand as symbols of military service and sacrifice does not change.
"Judicial activism, as underscored by the ruling on Mt. Soledad, is a serious threat to the preservation of American war memorials. This legislation provides the necessary foundation to ensure war memorials with religious symbols are explicitly protected under federal law."
Congressman Brian Bilbray (CA-50), an original cosponsor of the legislation along with Congressman Darrell Issa (CA-49), added, "Mt. Soledad is a national memorial that pays tribute to the men and women of America's Armed Forces who have courageously served their country in defense of freedom worldwide. The memorial also holds a very special place in my heart because the plaques of my father, brothers, and stepfather are among the thousands of stories of military service. That is why I am proud to co-sponsor the War Memorial Protection Act to ensure that Americans are allowed to recognize the religious background of members of the United States Armed Forces in the memorials we build to honor their service and memories."
Last week, Representatives Hunter and Bilbray sent a letter to the Attorney General and Secretary of Defense, urging the Departments of Justice and Defense to vigorously defend the Mt. Soledad Memorial.