Settlement Clears Path For Cross On Sunrise Rock

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Back in 1934, veterans of World War I put up a memorial in the Mojave Desert, setting a cross on what's known as Sunrise Rock. Private citizens have always maintained the cross even though it was on federal land. But the memorial has sparked debate for years. According to the Los Angeles Times, the Park Service will give the property to Henry and Wanda Sandoz in exchange for land they own elsewhere.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Back in 1934, veterans of First World War put up a memorial at a bleak but beautiful spot here Southern California's Mojave Desert. The veterans set a cross on what's known as Sunrise Rock.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Private citizens have always maintained the cross, most recently Henry and Wanda Sandoz took on the job, following the dying wish of the man who maintained it before.

MONTAGNE: They did it even though the cross stood on public land, the Mojave National Preserve. But the L.A. Times notes the memorial has sparked debate for years. The National Park Service turned aside a demand to put a Buddhist shrine at that spot.

INSKEEP: The question of the cross ended up in court and the cross itself was even stolen. But now the issue is resolved. The Park Service says it will give the Sunrise Rock property to the Sandozes in a swap for land they own elsewhere.

MONTAGNE: And Henry and Wanda Sandoz say they already have a new metal cross ready to go.

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