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Cross OK in Mojave Desert after settlement

A controversial war memorial cross has been stolen from its longtime home in the Mojave Desert, authorities said Tuesday.
April 25, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
A longstanding dispute over memorial crosses in the Mojave Desert may finally be resolved.

The war memorial crosses have been erected at Sunrise Rock for decades. But the site is in a national preserve, which is public land, raising questions about the separation of church and state.

A federal judge approved a deal Monday in which the site will be handed over to a Veteran of Foreign Wars post in Barstow and the Veterans Home of California-Barstow.

The park will give up the acre of land in exchange for five acres of donated property elsewhere in the 1.6 million acre preserve in Southern California.

This could all be finalized by year's end, at which time the veterans group can put up a new cross.

Once the swap is complete, the park service will fence the site, leaving entrances for visitors, and post signs noting that it is private land. A plaque will be placed on the rock noting that it is a memorial for U.S. war veterans.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.


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