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September 14, 2005
Flight 93 Memorial Will Be Modified

Our feedback has apparently caused some second thoughts on behalf of the Flight 93 memorial board and its selected designer, Paul Murdoch. Murdoch has agreed to consider modifications to his design that will address the concerns of his critics, probably by renaming the Crescent of Embrace:

The architect of the memorial to a plane downed in western Pennsylvania on Sept. 11, 2001, said Wednesday he would work to satisfy critics who complained that it honors terrorists with its crescent-shaped design.

Designer Paul Murdoch said he is "somewhat optimistic" that the spirit of the design could be maintained.

"It's a disappointment there is a misinterpretation and a simplistic distortion of this, but if that is a public concern, then that is something we will look to resolve in a way that keeps the essential qualities," Murdoch, 48, of Los Angeles, said in a telephone interview. ...

"We called it a 'crescent' because it was a curving land form. We called it 'Crescent of Embrace' because of the symbolic gesturing of embracing this place," Murdoch said. "There's no desire to make this a divisive memorial."

Perhaps the intent did not exist -- although his defiance of the jury's request to rename the centerpiece makes it look otherwise -- but the use of a crescent that would naturally turn bright red every anniversary of the attack provides an unmistakable symbol of Islam, given the context of the attacks. Architects deal with symbolism as an integral part of their work, and the prominence of the "crescent" and its highlighting of a natural feature of the landscape in the most symbolic of all architectural projects, a memorial, cannot have come by accident.

Removing the crescent will handle the most objectionable part of the design. However, unless the design does more to memorialize the way these forty civilians galvanized the nation into action instead of defeatist paralysis, it will still do an injustice to their memory. The other elements of the Murdoch design sound and look beautiful, but communicate passivity and detachment. These qualities embody the antithesis of Flight 93, which demand action and involvement of all Americans in defiance of terrorism and the defense of the nation.

Let's hope that Murdoch will rethink his design to truly memorialize what Flight 93 meant to America. Otherwise, the jury needs to literally go back to the drawing board.

Hat tip, and many thanks, to Michelle Malkin.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at September 14, 2005 10:28 PM

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» More on Flight 93 memorial... from Pull On Superman's Cape
Michelle Malkin reports that the winning design of the Flight 93 memorial will be altered due to the controversy over the 'red crescent' part of the design. Good. There should never be even a potential of a dilution of honor - especially in a place lik... [Read More]

Tracked on September 15, 2005 2:50 AM

» Why Memorials Bore Me from Architecture and Morality
As a result of my personal views on memorials in general, Ive been hesitant to comment on the Flight 93 memorial scheme submitted by Paul Murdoch Architects. I usually get bored the seemingly endless stream of new memorials and my natural cynicism d... [Read More]

Tracked on September 15, 2005 11:09 AM

» Flight 93 Memorial update from Sister Toldjah
Great news on the Flight 93 Memorial front. Remember the red crescent shape of the original memorial that caused quite a stir because it looked so much like a tribute to Islam? Looks like the architect has since rethought that design and is prepar... [Read More]

Tracked on September 15, 2005 1:46 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

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