The settlement approved by a federal judge in April permitted the Park Service to turn over the acre of land known as Sunrise Rock to a Veteran of Foreign Wars post in Barstow and the Veterans Home of California-Barstow in exchange for five acres of donated property elsewhere in the 1.6 million acre preserve, about a four-hour drive east of Los Angeles.Sunrise Rock wasn't part of the Mojave National Preserve until 1994, putting the Christian symbol on public land. The ACLU brought its lawsuit in 2001.
The donated land was owned by [Henry] Sandoz and his wife, Wanda, of Yucca Valley.
Sandoz has cared for the memorial as a promise to World War I veteran Riley Bembry, who with other shell-shocked vets went to the desert to help heal and erected a wooden cross on Sunrise Rock in 1934....
November 12, 2012
"In California, a war memorial cross that once stood on a rocky hilltop in a national park before being deemed unconstitutional and ordered removed was being resurrected..."
"... in the stunningly stark Mojave desert, marking the end of a longstanding legal dispute that had become entangled in patriotism and religion...."