Camp Pendleton Cross to go to Texas
A little-reported side story to the well-known controversy over the Camp Pendleton crosses was that a platoon was going to raise another cross on Pendleton, this time to honor Lance Corporal Benjamin Schmidt, who was killed in Afghanistan. The family and his unit had planned to erect the cross — near other crosses already in place — in connection with an April memorial ceremony.
However, the complaints by atheist activist Jason Torpy, who found out about the crosses on the internet, caused Pendleton to put a moratorium on further memorials. The cross is now being moved to San Antonio, where it will be erected on family land prior to the anniversary of Schmidt’s death.
David Schmidt said Christian, non-Christian and secular memorials should be allowed at the base. But he said his ranch was the “second-best place” for the white cross the Marines built.
“Benjamin’s buddies have said, ‘Let’s bring it to San Antonio. Let’s bring it home,’” Schmidt said. “It’s not the ideal situation. But it’s not right for it to be sitting in someone’s garage.”
Torpy said it was good that the cross is going to private land, rather than government land. The elder Schmidt said that, while a secondary solution, would give his son’s Marine peers an excuse to come by:
David Schmidt…said he has forged friendships with Marines in his son’s unit.
“Having the cross here will be a reason for them to come out to the ranch,” he said.
The status of the Camp Pendleton crosses at issue has yet to be decided, though a “wider review” is reportedly ongoing.