Rees Lloyd: Election Day 2012–It’s All About Freedom

On this election day 2012, we Americans will decide what kind of country  America will be, and what kind of Americans we have become.

We, the People, decide today whether America shall be the a nation  of constitutionally limited government, personal responsibility and free enterprise bequeathed to us by the generation of the Founding Fathers; or whether America shall be “transformed” into a nation of subjects rather than citizens, under ever expanding government, personal dependency on government instead of personal responsibility, and a nation of European-style  socialism rather than free enterprise. 

At its essence, then, the election of 2012, is all about freedom.

This generation, today, will choose to restore and pass on to future generations the freedom bequeathed to us Americans by the Founding Fathers who expressly limited the powers of government in our Constitution;  or we will choose to exchange that freedom for the promise of purported “security” under an ever-expanding government, controlled from a national (not really federal) government in Washington, D.C., under what elitist self-declared liberal “progressives” have called a “living constitution,” which means whatever they say it means rather than what the Founding Fathers actually said and intended it to mean.

The choice we make today brings to mind the warning of Founding Father Benjamin Franklin that those who would “exchange freedom for security, shall have neither.”

We Americans choose today, then, what our  country shall be not only for ourselves but for those Americans who will come after us. We Americans owe a great debt to those generations of Americans who came before us who created and preserved our American freedom, including a debt to those almost 1,400,000 veterans who gave their lives for our freedom from the Founding Fathers generation to this generation.We pay that debt of freedom owed to those Americans who came before us by what we do to preserve freedom for the Americans who will come after us.

In that regard, please consider but two examples of the  spirit for freedom that ennobled the hearts of the Founding Fathers and lives on in some Americans, today: 
Combat Veterans For Congress on the one hand; and, on the other hand,
Henry and Wanda Sandoz of Yucca Valley, CA, whose patriotic hearts and dedication are the primary reason that, after a 10-year-battle by veterans and other patriots against the secular extremists of the progressive liberal ACLU,  the cross honoring veterans at the Mojave Desert WWI Veterans Memorial shall rise again on Sunrise Rock at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of November on Veterans Day 2012.
The first salute is to the patriotic example of  Capt. Joseph R. John (USN, ret.), founder of the innovative Combat Veterans For Congress. Capt. John and all those working with him, including among others one of America’s great military and moral heroes, Col. Orson Swindle (USMC, ret.), a legend for his resistance to his communist captors as a POW in Vietnam. (

Combat Veterans For Congress has worked very hard to make Americans aware of what appears to be a common-sense, but ignored, idea: Those who have been willing to place their lives and limbs at risk in war in defense of American freedom have evidenced a love of country which should not be ignored as Americans decide  who are the people most likely to serve in the interest of the country in public office — or, put another, way, who can be trusted with power, i.e., to use it to advance themselves, or to advance the interests of the nation.

Therefore, I urge every American who is going  to vote today in this most crucial election in our modern history, to go to before voting, and read about those combat veterans who have been vetted by, and are endorsed by, the patriots of Combat Veterans For Congress. 

The second patriotic example involves two Americans who would be the first  to insist that they are just “ordinary Americans” who are only doing what is right, and seek no recognition nor praise. They are Henry and Wanda Sandoz, of the desert community of Yucca Valley.
It is because of the efforts of many that the cross shall rise again to honor veterans at the Mojave Desert WWI Veterans Memorial on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, 2012. But at the heart of that battle, were the hearts and efforts of Henry and Wanda Sandoz.
Members of the VFW in 1934 strapped two pipes together in the form of a cross and established it as a memorial honoring WWI veterans  at a rock outcrop, Sunrise Rock, eleven miles off the highway in the Mojave Desert. More than sixty years passed without a single complaint. Indeed, you have to drive to it to be offended by it.
Notwithstanding, in 2001, the secular extremist, “progressive” liberal ACLU, which has become the Taliban of American Liberal Secularism, filed a lawsuit to destroy the cross honoring veterans as a violation of the Establishment of Religion Clause. 
ACLU sued on behalf of plaintiff Frank Buono, a National Park Service bureaucrat who had been Ass’t Superintendent of the federal Mojave Preserve. Buono had never objected to the memorial cross as a bureaucrat with authority to act against it. Instead, he waited until he retired on his fat federal pension,   moved to Oregon, then became the ACLU’s poster boy in a lawsuit to destroy the cross honoring veterans 1,000 miles away.  Buono’s complaint is  that he might drive down that small desert road on a visit to California, and he would be “offended,” he pleads to the court, at the sight of a cross on federal land. 
On such dross as this are liberal “progressives,” atheists, secular extremists like the ACLU, and the liberal contemporary American judiciary, “transforming” America, including by wiping out of the public square all symbols and expressions of America’s own history and heritage, if they have a religious aspect. The target most often of “progressive” cultural and ideological attack is the cross, although for over 1,000 years the cross has been used to symbolize military valor.
The U.S. District Court in Riverside California granted ACLU’s motion and ordered the cross destroyed in 2002.  That ignited a 10-year-long legal fight between veterans of The American Legion, the VFW, and other veterans and patriots against the ACLU to save the veterans memorial “as it is, where it is,” with cross intact.  
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeal, the most liberal circuit in the country,  upheld the cross destruction order.
        However, in April, 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled for veterans and against the ACLU. The Court held that an Act of Congress achieved by Congressman Jerry Lewis (R-CA) authorizing a land exchange of the one-acre memorial site for a five-acres of private land donated by Henry and Wanda Sandoz is constitutional; overturned the orders to destroy the cross; and remanded the case to the US District Court in Riverside.
There, having been defeated in the US Supreme Court, the ACLU finally surrendered, agreeing it would cease all efforts to destroy the memorial cross. 
Why is that so important? Because what is at stake is whether 300-million Americans shall continue to be able to decide how to honor their war dead and the service of other veterans; or whether intolerant  atheists and secular-extremists epitomized by the ACLU shall have a veto power over those decisions. The fanaticism of the secular-cleansing ACLU is evidenced not only by the Mojave Desert WWI Memorial Cross Case but by the Mt. Soledad National Veterans Memorial Case which is now in its 23rd year of litigation. (Details on these two precedent-setting cases are discussed in archives of the Victoria Taft Blog.)
Many, many people, contributed to the victory over the secular-cleansing ACLU in the Mojave Desert Veterans Memorial Case. Recently, on Oct. 30, 2012, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, at the initiative of Supervisor Michael Antonovich, himself a veteran and American Legionnaire, honored a number of persons and organizations who played key roles in that victory. Scrolls were presented to, among others, Henry and Wanda Sandoz, Congressman Jerry Lewis (R-CA),  The American Legion, VFW, myself and other veterans, and pro-bono law firms and attorneys including the Alliance Defending Freedom, Liberty Institute, and Thomas More Law Center. The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors made such a recognition previously. Another is planned by the Riverside County Board of Supervisors on Dec. 4.
But the reality is that the victory to save the Mojave Desert Veterans Memorial could not have been won but for the patriotic spirit, dedication, and generosity of Henry and Wanda Sandoz. They made a death-bed promise to a member of the VFW who had participated in establishing the cross in 1934 that they would carry out his dying wish that they care for the cross. They fulfilled that promise by caring for the cross for over 30 years until it was ordered destroyed by the court at the request of the ACLU.
It was Henry and Wanda Sandoz who donated five acres of their own land in exchange for the one-acre federal site. The U.S. Supreme Court held the Act of Congress achieved by Rep. Jerry Lewis was constitutional. Without the Sandoz’ donation of their land, the memorial could not have been saved.
The night after the Supreme Court decision, vandals tore town the heavy, eight-foot cross and stole it away. Those self-righteous secular extremists later sent a letter to a desert newspaper stating they tore down the cross because it offends their secularist values. Those are the secular extremists a la the ACLU who are imposing their intolerant extreme secular views on America and Americans.
Henry Sandoz with his own hands and skill has crafted an exact replica of the cross destroyed by secular fanatics.
Yesterday, Nov. 5, 2012, Henry Sandoz notified me that the land exchange with the federal government had finally been completed. He said that while he and Wanda had been informed “we are no longer owners of our five acres of the land, we have something more important — the right to honor our WWI veterans as was intended back in 1934.”
Henry Sandoz said: “The cross honoring the veterans of WWI will be resurrected on Sunrise Rock on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, which was the exact time of the Armistice which stopped the fighting in WWI, which we now observe as Veterans Day.”
       Ceremonies will be held at 1 p.m., after all the work is completed of setting up the cross and bolting it securely to Sunrise Rock, he said.
       “I’m kinda pleased, no really pleased, that we are going to be able to restore the cross on Veterans Day at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month,” Henry Sandoz said. “I hope that Americans will keep and care for it for future generations, so all those who served and gave their lives in WWI are never forgotten.
“It’s a simple cross. But it means a lot,” Henry Sandoz concluded.
       Yes, it does. 
May we “never forget” as we vote on November 6 to decide what  kind of country America shall be; which vote will decide also, whether we intend it or not, what kind of Americans we of this generation have become. 
May God give us the wisdom, and the courage, to do the right thing.
(Rees Lloyd, a longtime ivil rights attorney and veterans activist, is a member of the Victoria Taft Blogforce.)

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