Captain's Quarters Blog

« Day 2: Men Behaving Badly | Main | Great Moments In Palestinian Self-Government »

September 14, 2005
The Point Of War Monuments

Michelle Malkin writes about the proposed Flight 93 memorial to the heroism of the 40 civilians who fought the first battle of the War on Terror and beat the terrorists in her weekly Townhall column today. She takes on the pacifist tone of the entire memorial as well as the Islamic symbolism in its most prominent feature, the Crescent of Embrace, which immediately created a firestorm of controversy:

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 professor Bernard Haykel told the Johnstown, Pa., Tribune-Democrat, "is the symbol of ritual and religious life for Muslims." ...

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." ...

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.

A proper memorial should carry with it the spirit of the event and/or the people who we wish to remember with its creation. Flight 93 taught us that we have to stand up to terrorists and not be led as frightened sheep to the slaughter that Islamofascists have planned for us. Thanks to some inexplicable delays in initiating the hijacking, these 39 Americans and one Japanese man had the time and opportunity to formulate and execute a counterattack, and nearly succeeded in taking back control of the plane. They defeated the terrorists' plans by forcing the pilot to abort his attack and dive straight into the ground rather than lose control of his guided missile.

Nothing about this rather beautiful, beatific design reflects that courage and intrepidity. It instead insists on new-agey windchimes and areas of contemplation, which would have been excellent had the centerpiece of the memorial still recalled the valiant courage of the people who fought back instead of merely contemplated their fate. What do we have in place of that? A centerpiece that, inadvertently or not, invokes the religious symbol of the terrorists who used their religious fanaticism to rationalize their acts.

This memorial offends on multiple levels, again whether the offense was intentional or not. It simply does not meet the occasion. While the verdict of the families should have some weight in the approval process, the entire point of this memorial is the national implications of the event, which is why the government will run the memorial and is in charge of its construction and maintenance. A great many of us do not want the Islamic symbolism as a centerpiece for the Flight 93 memorial, but more importantly, we want a memorial that evokes the courageous and inspiring example that they provided with their last breath of life. They didn't teach us to sit around and do nothing, and a memorial that encourages that simply gets it wrong.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at September 14, 2005 6:59 AM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry is

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference The Point Of War Monuments:

» Red Crescent Symbol Of Jihad from The Strata-Sphere
Michelle Malkin asks in this update post whether people watched the excellent Discovery Channel’s special Flight 93: The Flight That Fought Back and how they felt about the Flight 93 Memorial. The short answer is yes we did and it was excellent... [Read More]

Tracked on September 14, 2005 9:04 AM

» Crescent of Disgrace from reverse_vampyr
Ok, now I'm really pissed off. Would somebody please tell me how the "Crescent of Embrace" is an appropriate monument to the brave Americans who defeated the Islamic terrorists aboard American Airlines flight 93 on 9/11/01. What American though... [Read More]

Tracked on September 14, 2005 9:56 AM

» Reap what you sow or how we ended up with Wind chi from The Pink Flamingo Bar Grill
When conservatives ceded the arts to the left by funding their idiocy [Read More]

Tracked on September 14, 2005 10:16 AM

» Reading the landscape from sisu
The Three Soldiers (right) by Frederick Hart caught us off guard two falls ago when we walked up the rise after taking in Maya Lyn's once controversial but now much loved polished marble Vietnam Veterans' Memorial Wall on the Mall [Read More]

Tracked on September 14, 2005 7:07 PM

» Flight 93 memorial design will be altered from Tel-Chai Nation
Well, it looks like there's good news. The memorial design for the passengers on Flight 93 around Pittsburgh will be changed. [Read More]

Tracked on September 15, 2005 5:45 PM

» It happens in other places, too. from Don't Go Into The Light
Via Reuters/CNN: Chinese building sparks holey row SHANGHAI, China (Reuters) -- The designs for China's tallest building in Shanghai have been tweaked, its Japanese builders have said, after the original plans for an eye-catching round hole aroused ant... [Read More]

Tracked on October 19, 2005 4:44 AM

Design & Skinning by:
m2 web studios

blog advertising


Proud Ex-Pat Member of the Bear Flag League!