Skip to comments.Slain Marine's parents appeal to Bush to save cross
Posted on 06/09/2006 2:29:55 PM PDT by mastercylinder
Marine Capt. Michael Martino
The parents of a Marine who died in Iraq are urging President Bush to help ensure their son continues to be memorialized under a historic cross threatened by a judge's order.
Robert and Sybil Martino want the federal park service to take over the Mt. Soledad war memorial site from the city of San Diego, which is at the center of a 17-year dispute begun by an atheist charging the cross violates the so-called "separation of church and state."
The Martinos' son, Capt. Michael Martino, was killed in action in Iraq last November when his Cobra helicopter was shot down by a Russian shoulder-mounted SA-16 surface-to-air missile.
As WorldNetDaily reported, U.S. District Judge Gordon Thompson ordered the city of San Diego May 3 to remove the mountain-top cross within 90 days or face a fine of $5,000 a day. Thompson ruled the 29-foot structure unconstitutional in 1991, but the case has remained in courts and become an issue of public policy.
Capt. Michael Martino in Cobra helicopter
In a letter to Bush, the Martinos write, "Our son loved his country and the many rights and liberties it provided. ? Our son died with a strong belief that he was fighting to preserve the freedom of all Americans. Please let us have OUR freedom from activist judges and their personal interpretation of our Constitution."
The Martinos also have asked military veterans Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., to approach the president.
Last month, members of the slain officer's Camp Pendleton unit, which recently returned from Iraq, dedicated a plaque at Mt. Soledad to commemorate his legacy. More than 300 fellow Marines stood in line for over three hours to pay their respects to the parents.
The Martinos expressed "the feelings of honor [they] felt at having their son memorialized for all time under the cross at Mt. Soledad."
The parents said "there is no better place on the West Coast to honor our fallen heroes than under that cross overlooking the country they fought and died to preserve."
Robert Marino, noting the cross's existence in one form or another since 1913, contends the Soledad cross "is no more an affront to personal beliefs than the thousands of crosses at Arlington."
Michael Martino, 32, was awarded posthumously a Purple Heart and promoted to the rank of Marine major. He enlisted in the Marine Corps after graduating from the University of California at San Diego.
His father characterized him "as a determined young man who was focused and always gave it his all."
According to Marine Maj. Thomas Dolan, Michael Martino "routinely demonstrated valor and poise despite the chaos" of war. ...
"He did a lot of dangerous work yet ... always played down what he did," Dolan said.
Col. Thomas D. Weidley, Michael Martino's commanding officer, said in a letter to the parents that their son "performed his duties above expectations. ? He was always in the books, studying his aircraft, weapon systems and the enemy. One of the smartest pilots we have. ? Sacrifice, selfless service and uncommon valor are the staples of this generation of American service members, to which Mike was a part. We miss him terribly. He will never be forgotten."
The Martinos are disturbed that one atheist would be allowed by the courts to dismantle a cross that forms a significant part of the historic war memorial.
In a letter to McCain, the Martinos asked, "is it fair to the majority and to those who have served or have fallen in the service for our nation who wish to keep the cross to appease a few who look to strip all religion from our country under a false interpretation of the separation of church and state? Our son died with a strong belief that he was fighting to preserve the freedom of all Americans."
Along with Hunter and McCain, the Martinos are asking newly elected Republican Rep. Brian Bilbray to help persuade the White House to federalize the site, making it a national war memorial.
The American Family Association has launched a campaign asking citizens to send an e-mail to the president to effectively take "the case out of Judge Thompson's hands" by signing an executive order transferring the land to the National Park Service.
We need to get back to a situation where the majority rules in this country; not that the rights of those with minority views are ignored or trampled on, but don't tell me that the sight of a commemorative cross is trampling on anyone's rights, period.
Do with this cross what was done with the Escalante in Utah - declare the area a national monument. Great historical significance.
San Diego Ping
It should never have to come to that though.
People like this have to much free time and need to get a life. They need to stop trying to cut down crosses and start taking my order.
The Soledad Cross is a monument to the CHRISTIANS who gave their lives for this country. If atheists want a monument to the atheist who gave their lives, let them put up one.
I'd rather it be made private property. The federal government is tying up enough land.
You understand that the judge has already ruled that the land cannot be transferred or privatized or made into some kind of monument. The point is that the cross must come down. It makes people mad.
From your lips to God's ear!!!
I like it.
I hear crickets chirping...
Damn tired of these Nazi'ists and Stalinists attempting to remove our religious symbols over the Memorial graves of our hero Vets. Let them wait just a little longer until they inherit their own religious free zone of promised land liberal nirvana.....HELL. Leave the rest of us alone who love God and country.
I've never seen so much ado about nothing. How does this cross effect anyone's life? I'm Jewish, and I loved the Cross...I loved seeing the Cross, I'd bring people visiting San Diego to the Cross. When I moved to San Diego, 16 years ago they were fighting about it. I just can't believe there are people so small and mean and bitter that would force something that so many people love to come down.
If Bush federalizes it, all it will take is another Clinton liberal to come along and declare the cross is unconstitutional because it represents a federal endorsement of religion, and it's back to being torn down.
Usually, making land federal only *weakens* the chance that a cross will stand.
I'm Jewish too it doesn't mean you can't respect other peoples beliefs.
What are you talking about? Didn't I just say that?
I don't expect Bush to do anything in this case. He's been keeping his head in the sand on this one.