I am not an architect, but here is
my 9/11 architectural philosophy:
War memorials should memorialize war. If you want
peace and understanding and healing and good will toward
all, go build
Please, for the sake of those who
have sacrificed, let`s put the design of war memorials
in the hands of creative people committed to erecting
monuments of courage over capitulation.
This past weekend, to mark the
fourth anniversary of the
Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the Discovery Channel
aired a searing documentary on Flight 93. It was the
"Flight That Fought Back" against
al Qaeda hijackers who crashed the United Airlines
plane into a field outside of Shanksville, Pa.—15
minutes` flying time from the nation`s capital and the
killers` likely target, the White House.
The movie fleshed out many of the
heroes of Flight 93 through actual cell phone recordings
and interviews with relatives. One was
Alice Hoglan, mother of Mark Bingham, who encouraged
her son not to sit back and surrender. These are
excerpts from a voice mail message Mrs. Hoglan left for
Bingham during the hijacking:
this is your mom. It`s 10:54 a.m. [Eastern time].
The news is that it`s been hijacked by terrorists. They
are planning to probably use the plane as a target to
hit some site on the ground. So if you possibly can, try
to overpower these guys if you can—`cause they will
probably use the plane as a target. I would say go ahead
and do everything you can to overpower them, because
they`re hell-bent. You know the number here. OK, I love
you sweetie. Bye."
Throughout the documentary, family
members recounted the take-charge, can-do attitudes of
their loved ones. These were Americans who refused to
sit down and be quiet and allow Islamic terrorists
unfettered control over the flight stick of history.
These were doers, not hand-wringers, who engaged in a
violent and valiant struggle against evil.
I remind you of all this because
the official Flight 93 memorial unveiled last week is
now embroiled in overdue public controversy. Funded with
a mix of public money and private cash (including a
$500,000 grant from
Teresa Heinz`s far-left Heinz Endowments), the
winning design, titled the
"Crescent of Embrace," features a grove of maple
trees ringing the crash site in the shape of an
unmistakable red crescent. The
crescent, New York University Middle East Studies
Bernard Haykel told the Johnstown, Pa.,
Tribune-Democrat, "is the symbol of ritual and
religious life for Muslims."
Some design contest jury members
reportedly raised concerns about the jarring symbol of
the hijackers` faith implanted on the hallowed ground
where the passengers of Flight 93 were murdered. But
their recommendations to change the name of the memorial
"Arc of Embrace," or some such whitewashing)
were ignored. Memorial architect Paul Murdoch, whose
firm emphasizes "environmental responsibility and
sustainability," did not return calls and e-mails
seeking comment, but he did emphasize to the
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that his creation was about
"healing" and "contemplation." He is also
proud of his idea to hang a bunch of wind chimes in a
tall tower at the site as a
"gesture of healing and bonding."
Wind chimes? Hey, why not add
pinwheels and smiley face stickers and Care Bears while
we`re at it, too?
Let`s set aside the utter
boneheaded-ness of using a symbol that, inadvertently or
not, commemorates the killers` faith instead of the
victims` revolt. The soft-and-fuzzy memorial design of
"Crescent of Embrace" still does injustice to the
steely courage of Flight 93`s passengers and crew. It
evokes the defeatism embodied by those behind a similar
move to turn the 9/11 memorial at Ground Zero in New
York City into a pacifist guilt complex.
This is no way to fight a war. Or
to remember those who have died fighting it.
A proper war memorial stirs to
anger and action. We all remember passenger Todd
Beamer`s last heard words as he and his fellow Americans
prepared to take back the plane from al Qaeda`s killers,
Michelle Malkin [email
her] is author of
Invasion: How America Still Welcomes Terrorists,
Criminals, and Other Foreign Menaces to Our Shores.
here for Peter Brimelow`s review. Click
here for Michelle Malkin`s website.
CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.