After two decades of battling over the fate of the Mount Soledad Veterans Memorial and the cross that stands atop it, the federal land under the memorial has been sold to the private Mount Soledad Memorial Association in a $1.4 million fair value exchange.
The original memorial was established in 1954, according to the memorial organization, and included construction of a 27-foot Latin cross. It initially honored fallen military veterans of the Korean War. An expansion in 2000 included six curved walls with granite plaques paying tribute to individual veterans. Five more walls were added in 2013, completing a circle at the height of the park.
Bruce Bailey, President and CEO of the Mt. Soledad Memorial Association told Breitbart News, “Now that we’re honored and humbled to be the owners and caretakers of this great veterans memorial. Yes, there are going to be changes. The nice thing for us is that we now have the power to control our destiny as how we handle the memorial and to respect this.”
“We just got electricity out to the site,” Bailey said. “Some of the things we plan on doing is to put an electronic information center that allows people to go online and find a specific plaque. If you want to make donations, you can do that. And one of the biggest things, I believe as of yesterday, we now have lights to light the flag at night”
Bailey said the group hopes to make the site a national memorial and a draw for travelers visiting the area.
He said Senator Dianne Feinstein and Congressman Duncan Hunter both pressed for the deal in the National Defense Authorization A agreement that President Obama signed into law last December.
As part of the deal, should the group ever decide to maintain the site as a memorial, responsibility would be returned to the federal government and it would remain a memorial site.
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