Thursday, September 15, 2005

I've got to put the phone down and do what we got to do

Apparently Paul Murdoch has hit a teensy bit of a nerve with a few of you pajama-clad blog junkies out there. The Washington Times reports that the proposed memorial for the hijackers passengers of Flight 93 will be altered.

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, than that is something we will look to resolve in a way that keeps the essential qualities," Mr. Murdoch, 48, told the Associated Press.

"We'll probably add a few new elements to the memorial to eliminate any ambiguity. Off the top of my head, I'm thinking a star to symbolize how they flew in the sky and touched the face of heaven before crashing to earth. Maybe a sword or two to represent the fury with which the passengers fought. Perhaps a veil or cloak to remind us how this tragedy covered the other events of the day. I like Ace's proposal too, we might consult with him."

Also in the article is some world-class dhimmitude from someone who ought to know better: a relative of two passengers on the plane.

"This is an unfortunate distraction from the mission of the memorial," said Hamilton Peterson, who lost his father and stepmother on the flight and is president of the District-based Families of Flight 93.
"We've vetted this design and thought it through. In reality, the red crescent is a symbol of a benevolent humanitarian mission founded in World War I. Now, wackos with idle time and energy are trying to divert our goal," Mr. Peterson said.

A-hem. I guess I'm just a wacko trying to divert your goal here, but with 30 seconds of my idle time, I googled up some islamic symbols and discovered that the use of the crescent dates back to Roman times as the symbol of the city of Byzantium (or Constantinople or Istanbul if you prefer) When the Turks, led by Mohammed II, invaded the city in 1453, they co-opted the city's symbol for themselves and islam at large.
What Captain Asshat refers to evolving out of World War I, is the International Red Cross / Crescent Society, which was formed from an alliance of National Red Cross/Crescent organizations in 1919. The Red Crescent variation came from the Ottoman Empire's red crescent society founded in 1876.
But I digress.

I'll forego an apology for distracting from your mission, Mr. Hamilton, because I think your mission is 180 degrees out of focus. Paul Murdoch's design completely mischaracterizes the events of Flight 93, and its place within the larger September 11th attacks. It calls for "healing the land and emotional healing of the visitors," while neglecting to mention anything about the monumental sacrifice the passengers and crew made. Because essentially, that's what the flight was about. Not disparate groups of people all coming together around a campfire to sing kum-bai-ya until the S'mores are ready - but an attack. The brutal tooth-and-nail fighting of people desparately trying to stop fanatical terrorists.

The rebellion of Flight 93 was the turning point of September 11. In that moment, ordinary Americans first went from watching events unfold in stunned silence to active participants. As one, they rose up against their captors and fought them. They refused to sit idly by and let tyrrany win the day. The passengers and crew of Flight 93 sent a clarion call to the rest of the country and the rest of the world:

Fight Back. Don't give in. Never Surrender.

That should be the message their memorial conveys, not this cowardly equivocation wrapped up in feel-good platitudes and stamped with islam's seal of approval.

Todd Beamer said it best that day, when gathering the group of passengers that would lead the charge into the cockpit. "Are you ready guys? Let's roll." Not "Let's roll over."

Previous September 11 posts:
Hijacking the Memorial