(Reuters/Lawrence Hurley)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A 40-foot-tall (12 meters) cross-shaped war memorial standing on public land in Maryland does not constitute government endorsement of religion, the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday in a decision that leaves unanswered questions about the boundaries of the U.S. Constitution's separation of church and state.

The justices were divided on many of the legal issues but the vote was 7-2 to overturn a lower court ruling that had declared the so-called Peace Cross in Bladensburg unconstitutional in a legal challenge mounted by the American Humanist Association, a group that advocates for secular governance. The concrete cross was erected in 1925 as a memorial to troops killed in World War One.

The ruling made it clear that a long-standing monument in the shape of a Christian cross on public land was permissible but the justices were divided over whether other types of religious displays and symbols on government property would be allowed. Those issues are likely to come before the court in future cases.

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A Marine was killed in a crash near Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort on Saturday afternoon.

Lance Cpl. Derrick Thirkill, 21, of Florence, Alabama, was an active-duty Marine stationed in Beaufort, said Beaufort County Coroner Ed Allen.

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(U.S. Navy photo)

Editor's Note: This article by Gina Harkins originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer wants a U.S. Navy ship to be named for Senior Chief Cryptologic Technician (Interpretive) Shannon Kent, the Pine Plains, New York, native who spent much of her 15-year military career embedded with special operations troops and died Jan. 16 in a bombing in Manbij, Syria.

The honor would be the first for the Navy: Of the service's nearly 300 ships, fewer than a dozen are named for women and none commemorate a female service member killed in action.

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The remains of Marines killed in a 2018 crash of a KC-103J Hercules off Japan have been recovered and are being transported to Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, for identification, officials have announced.

The KC-130J aerial tanker and an F/A-18D Hornet went down on Dec. 6, 2018 during an exercise roughly 200 miles of the Japanese coast. The Hornet's pilot Capt. Jahmar F. Resilard was pronounced dead after being rescued. Another Marine aviator aboard the Hornet survived.

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(Alaska National Guard photo)

Russell Hepler, a sergeant with the Alaska Army National Guard, died Saturday when he was swept away by the current of the Copper River while dipnetting, according to a report from the Guard Sunday.

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(U.S. Army photo)

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- The Distinguished Service Cross was awarded posthumously to Army Staff Sergeant Michael H. Ollis in a ceremony marked by pomp and circumstance, poignant speeches, applause and even a few tears in Oakwood, New York on Saturday afternoon.

Military brass, politicians, veterans, family members and friends turned out in force for the standing-room-only dedication that was held on the lawn of the VFW Post that bears the Ollis name.

Vice Chief of Staff of the Army General James C. McConville bestowed the honor that symbolizes the extraordinary heroism of the infantryman to his parents, Robert and Linda Ollis, in a spiritually charged ceremony under brilliant sunshine.

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