PHOTO FROM AHA FACEBOOK PAGE

UPDATE – Monday, Oct. 23

Annapolis, MD – Maryland Governor Larry Hogan has weighed in on the controversy swirling in Prince George’s County regarding the Bladensburg World War I Veterans Memorial, aka The Peace Cross. In a statement posted on the governor’s Facebook page, Hogan pledged that his administration would fight any move to have the monument removed.

Here is the governor’s statement in its entirety.

“This is outrageous. The Peace Cross was built in 1925 by families in Prince George’s County who joined with the American Legion to honor their fallen from World War I. Marylanders are united in showing respect for our veterans. I’m a native Prince Georgian and have passed by this memorial thousands of times. I view it as an incredible tribute to those who came before us and made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. The idea that memorializing our soldiers killed in battle on foreign lands to make the world safe for democracy is somehow unconstitutional goes against everything we stand for as Americans. Our administration will fight this unacceptable overreach. Enough is enough.”


Bladensburg, MD – The future of a monument to Maryland soldiers who died in World War I is in doubt after a federal court ruled that the landmark is unconstitutional. The Bladensburg World War I Veterans Memorial has been a landmark in the Prince George’s County town for almost 100 years. On Wednesday, Oct. 18, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, VA ruled the 40-foot structure—known by many as the “Peace Cross”—appears to be a government endorsement of Christianity. The Richmond court’s ruling overturned a decision made two years ago that the cross was not a religious symbol.

The cross is maintained by government funds.

The organization that filed the grievance, demanding the cross’ removal—the American Humanist Association (AHA)—hailed the court’s decision. “The court correctly ruled that the cross unconstitutionally endorses Christianity and favors Christians to the exclusion of all other religious Americans,” Monica Miller, senior counsel from the AHA’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center, stated on the organization’s web site.

The entities fighting to save the Peace Cross—the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission and American Legion—are considering an appeal of the court’s decision.

Contact Marty Madden at marty.madden@thebaynet.com