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World War II Vet Forced to Abandon Maintaining Hillside Memorial Cross After 31 Years


"For over 31 years I’ve been climbing the mountain and replacing stones."

94-year-old Arvo Kannisto, once a Lieutenant Colonel in World War II, has had a life full of danger and excitement. But now, because someone else fears the danger he might face, he's been banned from maintaining a memorial he built and has been maintaining for 31 years.

Back in 1981, Kannisto went to a mountain near where he lives, in Santa Rosa, California, and pushed a massive assortment of stones into the shape of a cross so big that it's visible from the bottom of the mountain. Kannisto claimed he built this giant makeshift monument to commemorate his fellow veterans, and also as a "love symbol" because, to quote him, "There's too much hate in the world."

Over the 31 years since then, Kannisto has been continually going back to the hill to keep the cross in good condition, so it won't fade back into nature. And he would have kept doing so, even at the ripe old age of 94, if not for the fact that the owner of the property that the cross is on has recently decided that he doesn't want Kannisto going up to keep doing it.

The reason is probably the best argument ever for a reform of our country's lawsuit-happy culture. You see, the owner of the property had previously allowed Kannisto to maintain his creation, and still has no particular argument with Kannisto's mission or his choice of symbol. However, because Kannisto is 94 and could easily hurt himself on the trek up to maintain his creation, the owner of the property is worried he'd be legally liable if Kannisto did get hurt, and wants to protect himself from a lawsuit, hence his commitment to ban the veteran from his land.

But this reasonable fear has had a horrible consequence - Kannisto is so upset at not being able to maintain his creation that he can't even talk about it without bursting into tears, as this report from Fox News clearly shows:


“Perhaps that’s the reason why I’m 94-years-old because for over 31 years I’ve been climbing the mountain and replacing stones," Kannisto says through tears in the report.

Needless to say, an alternate solution is being sought to amend this tragic situation. What it will be is up for debate, though presumably some sort of liability waiver would have to be drawn up between Kannisto and the owner of the property. Hopefully, this monument to one man's dedication won't be dropped completely.

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