Wednesday, February 16, 2011

How the Mojave Cross was stolen, my theory after visiting Sunrise Rock yesterday. Videos and photographs. Part 1.

Longtime readers of this blog are aware of how I feel about the
Mojave Cross which stood atop Sunrise Rock, near Cima, in what
is now the Mojave National Preserve, for almost 80 years.

I believe I was quoted on the television as being “mad enough to
beat their behinds until their noses bled.” You can see a couple of those interviews here as well as read my report written and put up
that day.

Since that time, I have followed the story with interest. I know that
some time after the event, a letter was dropped off at a newspaper
claiming responsibility and saying a veteran took it because he didn’t
think that religious symbols should be displayed on public land, among other points made in the bizarre manifesto.

Shortly after the receipt of the anonymous letter claiming responsibility, the Justice Department opened an investigation into the theft, and no further news has been forthcoming, at least I haven’t seen any.

Day before yesterday, as I was sitting under an ancient juniper near the Rock House at Camp Rock Springs, bundled up against the cold wind, and gazing across the vastness that is the Mojave National Preserve, the urge to visit Sunrise Rock hit me, a longing so intense,
I knew in my heart that I had to go there- soon.
021411mnpvisit 037

There was a need to try to make some sense out of what to me, was an irrational act, the removal of this symbol,in defiance of our laws, and of the highest court in this land, a symbol,not meant to promote any religion, but in remembrance of those who gave everything they had, including their lives, in that cruel “war to end all wars,” World War One. Undoubtedly, some of the fallen hailed from the Mojave Desert area, and would never return, their loss wrecking havoc upon their loved ones.

As an ancient Greek philosopher said once, “only the dead have seen
the end of war.” I believe that is as true today, as it was then, maybe
conflict and strife are hardwired into human DNA, I don’t know, all I
know for certain was that these men answered the call, and paid the ultimate price, and it is a severe dishonor to their memories, an unforgiveable offense against basic decency, at the minimum, to steal
this cross from atop that lonely rock outcropping, far from where they
died, but close to their memories and home.

So after I soaked up the vista for a while, by the way this was after hiking down to the Camp Rock Springs, I decided to go to Sunrise Rock the following morning, on my way back to Orange County.

Upon checking out of my hotel, yesterday, I drove straight away to
Sunrise Rock. As soon as I parked my car, and walked over, I noticed
a change. I could see the base where the cross once stood from down below, something I never noticed before in any of my previous visits.
021511mojavedesertcross 008

Here is a closeup shot of the base where the cross once stood.
021511mojavedesertcross 009

This is a closeup taken from atop Sunrise Rock showing the base. This is a change from last year and may
be from the replacement cross which went up shortly after the original was stolen.This one was removed by
the National Park Service.
mojavecross 002

Note the difference, this shows an 80 year old foundation. This was taken by me about a day after the
original cross was stolen in May, 2010.
mojavecross 003

Looking down upon the assembled news media below, as the 2 Riverside Press Enterprise photographers
photographed the cross base. I showed them how to get up there.They are in the photo below this one.Both
photos taken by me in May, 2010.
mojavecross 009

Dug Begley and William Lewis of the Press Enterprise hard at work. These were great guys, hard workers,
doing their best to get the story out for their readers. All the media I met were nice to me, in return I walked
back to my car and burned video I took of the cross before that to a cd. Since I only had one they shared it.

Folks, don’t let the above photo fool you. We were up in the air
as this video below, taken yesterday will show. There isn’t a lot of room up there, and with the never ending desert wind blowing, it
can be scary, but as you will see later, it is significant that three
men can fit up top that rock
.

From atop Sunrise Rock on 2/15/2011.

It was very windy and I felt that it wasn’t safe to stay up there
by myself, only a car and a truck passed by the whole time I was
there, not the time to fall and break an ankle or worse!

So, down I went and once at the bottom, I took a few leisurely
photos.
021511mojavedesertcross 029

The view of Sunrise Rock from the side where I believe the thieves lowered the cross down, more later.
021511mojavedesertcross 015

I walked completely around the backside of the rock formation
where I passed this “driveway.”
021511mojavedesertcross 020

“The driveway” view looking from the side of Sunrise Rock and toward the area hidden from  Cima Road
and passing traffic.

To be continued soon, Part 2 where I go into the details of how I believe
the theft occurred, with video.

Just a reminder folks, feel free to make your voice heard via comment or email.
The only bad comment, is the one you don’t make and keep to yourself.

If I can put myself out in the public arena, so can you.

Thanks for dropping by the backporch, hope to see you again.

Morongobill

P.s. I would write more but I had a very long day driving the airport bus and am planning to get right to catching up
on some shuteye. The closing post for this should be up within a day or 2, to be followed by the visit to the Rockhouse.
Morongobill

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