Today, The American Legion, The American Legion Department of Maryland, and The American Legion Post 131 of Colmar Manor, Md., seek to intervene in a lawsuit pending in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland challenging the constitutionality of an historic veterans memorial that sits in the heart of the Bladensburg, Md., historic district. The motion for intervention, filed by Liberty Institute and Jones Day, asks the Court to permit the Legion to become a party in American Humanist Association v. Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission in order to defend the World War I memorial it erected almost 100 years ago. To view the motion online, visit: www.libertyinstitute.org/document.doc?id=153
The American Legion, the largest veterans service organization in the world, erected the Bladensburg World War I Veterans Memorial in 1925 in honor of 49 men of Prince George’s County, who gave their lives in the First World War while serving in the U.S. armed forces. It sits in the immediate vicinity of memorials to those who served in the War of 1812, World War II, the Korean War, and Vietnam, as well as a memorial to the fallen of September 11, 2001.
“We are hopeful that the Court will grant our client, The American Legion, the right to intervene in order to protect its interests in this historic Bladensburg World War I Veterans Memorial, which it erected almost a century ago to honor the county’s fallen,” said Jeff Mateer, General Counsel for Liberty Institute.
The Legion seeks to protect its interests in the Bladensburg World War I Veterans Memorial and to ensure that the memorial and others like it may continue to honor American veterans. American Legion posts have participated in patriotic events at the Bladensburg World War I Veterans Memorial since its inception, including on Memorial Day and Veterans Day.
“The attack on this time-honored memorial is shocking,” said Roger Byron, Liberty Institute Senior Counsel. “The Bladensburg World War I Veterans Memorial has stood for almost 100 years in honor of the fallen. We are committed to ensuring it stands for 100 more. The men it honors, all others who have served, and those in uniform today deserve no less.”
The lawsuit began on February 25 when the humanist group filed a complaint, alleging that the public ownership, maintenance, and display of the memorial violated the Establishment Clause. The Bladensburg World War I Veterans Memorial joins a growing list of veterans memorials across the country that have come under similar attack.
Liberty Institute is a nonprofit legal group dedicated to defending and restoring religious liberty across America — in our schools, for our churches, in the military and throughout the public arena. Liberty’s vision is to reestablish religious liberty in accordance with the principles of our Founding Fathers. For information, visit www.LibertyInstitute.org.
SOURCE Liberty Institute