The DOD sold the parcel atop Mt. Soledad in La Jolla to the Mt. Soledad Memorial Association, the nonprofit entity that has overseen the maintenance and administration of the memorial from its inception in 1954, it was announced Monday. The cash transaction was completed on Friday.
It follows the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2015, signed into law by Congress and signed by President Obama in December 2014, calling for the sale of the property by the federal government to the Association.
“I am honored to be leading our Association at this most significant time in our Memorial’s history,” said Bruce Bailey, President and CEO of the Mt. Soledad Memorial Association board of trustees. “It marks the first time where our membership can manage the Memorial's affairs from a place of ownership and accountability for the property, which is a new and welcomed step for the Association."
Because the cross sat on public land, opponents argued it was a government endorsement of a particular religion. Supporters said the cross was part of a war memorial.
“Those people who think that the cross doesn’t belong up there, they have the right to think that. I approach it differently because I don’t think the cross being up there is
The memorial contains a cross that has been the source of controversy for decades. More than 3,700 individual plaques of veterans, both living and deceased, are mounted on the memorial walls, honoring veterans who have served from the time of the Revolutionary War to the current conflicts in the Middle East.