Lawsuit Wants Memorial Peace Cross Removed From Public Land

BLADENSBURG, Md. (WJZ)—Cross controversy. A lawsuit is filed over a war memorial in Prince George’s County. Some argue it honors the lives of service members lost. Others say it’s a religious symbol that shouldn’t sit on state land.

Meghan McCcorkell has more on the debate.

The memorial cross in Bladensburg was dedicated in 1925. Now some say they want it moved.

For nearly 100 years, the 40-foot cross has stood at a busy Bladensburg intersection.

Peace Cross, as it’s called, honors the 49 Prince George’s County servicemen that died in WWI.

Now a lawsuit has been filed calling for it to be moved.

“A clearly Christian icon does not belong on public land because public land represents everyone,” said Fred Edwords.

He, along with a group that represents humanists, atheists and agnostics filed the suit, saying the cross sends the wrong message.

“Here the message is clearly that if you’re a non-Christian, if you’re of any other religion or of no religion, well then you know, maybe Bladensburg isn’t the town for you,” Edwords said.

The Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission controls the land where the cross sits and is contesting the lawsuit.

A petition calling for the cross to be saved already has more than 6,000 signatures.

It says, in part: “The site is a major landmark in the Maryland, District of Columbia, Bladensburg basin. But most important of all, is the fact it memorializes those who made the supreme sacrifice.”

“To me, it’s like they’re slapping the veterans in the face. That is your tribute to the veterans,” said veteran Dane Weber.

But Edwords says he doesn’t want it destroyed.

“Let’s move it to a veterans organization, or let’s move it to a church or some place where people can enjoy it,” Edwords said.

Some place that’s not on public land.

Those who want to keep the cross where it is are planning a rally this Saturday.

A Facebook group called “Save the Peace Cross” has more than 3,000 members.

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