CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. (AP) - An atheist group is challenging a cross erected at a San Diego County Marine base to honor veterans and those killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Los Angeles Times says the 13-foot cross was erected on Veterans Day on a Camp Pendleton hilltop to replace one destroyed by a 2007 brushfire. The original was put up by seven marines, including three who later died in Iraq.

The replacement was erected by Iraq veterans and the widows of two slain Marines.

The Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers has protested to base officials, arguing that a Christian symbol on base violates the Constitution.

A Christian group, the American Center for Law and Justice, has asked that the cross remain.

Marine officials never sanctioned the cross and are reviewing the issue.


Information from: Los Angeles Times,

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.