FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 20, 2019
Contact: Anika B. Jackson, Acting Public Affairs Officer, 301-952-4584
M-NCPPC RESPONDS TO SUPREME COURT DECISION ON THE PEACE CROSS
Riverdale, MD - Today, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled the Bladensburg Peace Cross Memorial does not violate the Establishment Clause. The memorial can continue to stand on public land. The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) issued the following statement in response:
“The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission is extremely gratified that our legal battle to protect the community’s interest in this historic symbol prevailed. This is a big win for our community and this Nation,” said Elizabeth M. Hewlett, Chairman of M-NCPPC and the Prince George’s County Planning Board. “For more than 90 years, this memorial has stood in the community as reminder of the sacrifices made for our freedom. And no matter what side of the decision is supported, we could never repay or reclaim the lives lost. But we can honor and acknowledge their bravery through service to this community. As stewards of many natural, cultural, and historic resources, the Commission is most proud and honored to preserve and protect our history for future generations. And just as the plaque on the base of the memorial states, “The right is more precious than peace. We shall fight for the things we have always carried nearest our hearts. To such a task we dedicate our lives.”(Woodrow Wilson)
The Bladensburg Peace Cross is a long-standing commemorative symbol that honors Prince Georgian veterans who gave their lives in service during World War I. The memorial was built in 1925 and funded by a group of local residents, including the families of the fallen, to honor 49 Prince Georgians who died in World War I.
“We were optimistic that the Supreme Court would hear the case and overturn the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruling that the cross violates the Establishment Clause,” said Adrian Gardner General Counsel of M-NCPPC. “The monument is a symbolic resting place for ancestors who never returned home. For others, it is a place for the community to gather and honor all veterans and their sacrifices for our Nation. For others still, it is a historical landmark.”
M-NCPPC challenged the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruling that the Peace Cross violates the Establishment Clause of the Constitution of the United States and filed a petition for the Supreme Court to review the case.
The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) is a bi-county agency empowered by the State of Maryland in 1927 to acquire, develop, maintain and administer a regional system of parks within Montgomery and Prince George's Counties, and to provide land use planning for the physical development of Prince George's and Montgomery counties. In addition, the agency gained responsibility for the public recreation program in Prince George's County in 1970. Visit www.mncppc.org