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Monday, 12 September 2005
Two Issues,
One Word

Topic: 9/11
At the close of last week a firestorm lit up the internet concerning the design for the Future Flight 93 Memorial.

A firestorm is not an exaggeration. It might even be an understatement.

Many different blogs weighed in. Some were enraged, some did not see the significance of the construct that was objected to.

The responses ranged from

Michelle Malkin in

And do you wonder how this memorial design--benignly passive at best, offensive and inexplicably clueless at worst--possibly passed muster as the best representation of the spirit, courage, and resilience of the 40 passengers who saved countless American lives?
Is this the best we can do?
Sissy Willis and Dean Esmay, both conservative bloggers I like and link to regularly, dissent from those who are troubled by the "Crescent of Embrace." Do read their critiques. Sissy Willis thinks the issue can be resolved with a name change. Dean Esmay dismisses the controversy as a "kerfuffle." Both describe critics, myself included, as "shrill."

Captain's Quarters in

Flight 93 Memorial Intended To Offend

But the architects who created the winning design say their design has nothing to do with Islam.
"A crescent is part of architectural vocabulary. It's a generic form used in design," said Paul Murdoch, one of the winning architects. "We don't see any one group having ownership of it."
Murdoch believes it's unfortunate that the design is being interpreted that way.
"You can call it all kinds of things. We can call it an arc. We can call it a circle. We can call it the edge of the bowl. The label doesn't matter to us in terms of intent. We have no objection to calling it something else."
But as Ward reports, the advisory jury which selected the design asked the architects to do just that. They specifically wrote in their recommendation for this design that the name "Crescent of Embrace" be changed to "circle" or "arc" in order to avoid references to "specific religious iconography". That sounds as if the jury, which included victim family members, recognized the potential Islamic references at once.
Why didn't Murdoch heed that request? After all, it came from the victims' families, as the rebuttals have argued in specifying their support for the overall design. Instead, Murdoch kept that nomenclature.

The Politburo Diktat in

Flight 93 Crescent Memorial - The Designer?s Own Words

I don?t get it. Why this shape? The designers had a blank slate. They could have designed anything. And they chose the symbol of the perpetrators. They essentially claim that the shape is a coincidence. That?s an absurd claim. Architects design things for a reason, with intent; every part of an architectural design serves a purpose. A wall holds up a building; a pipe carries water; a gravestone marks a person?s final resting place. To pretend there is no symbolism here is beyond ?disingenuous.? It?s ridiculous. All you have to do is look at it. I skimmed through several Leftie blogs. They are convinced it?s a coincidence, that only wingnuts would see a connection.

Over in Euorope !No Pasaran! chimed in with
Forms have MEANING

One of their commenters was even more blunt

The proposed ?artwork for Flight 93 memorial site?called the ?crescent of embrace?. Does this just make you sick to your stomach when the remains of the victims are buried here and the perpetrators were muslim extremists? How many of these victims were muslims, do you suppose and since when is this appropriate in any stretch of the imagination

Then of course there were other reactions.

If the designer had used a different word?

by Jack Grant
such as semilunar instead of crescent, would the overly-sensitive right-wing be equally outraged?
From where I stand, Dean Esmay is entirely correct when he writes, ?Guys: it?s a curved grove of maple trees for God?s sake. Get over it

Perpetual Indignance As Political Expression
by Dean Esmay
Guys: it's a curved grove of maple trees for God's sake. Get over it

For the sake of debate, and only for the sake of debate I will stipulate, "a curved grove of trees is a curved grove of trees."

Let whether or not merely changing the name will solve the problem.

For me the defining question is, "If the crescent shape has no meaning other than subjective, was never meant to imply anything, the WHY was the simple request of the families ignored?"

They did not ask to scrap this design.
They did not ask to restart the long process of selection over.

They only asked that the title

"Crescent of Embrace" be changed to "circle" or "arc" in order to avoid references to "specific religious iconography".

Those who have maintained that outrage over the design of the Flight 93 Memorial have yet to explain why this simple request was not honored.

And if it was not honored, what purpose did the jury of families serve?

Were they meant to be listened to but ignored?

Were they just one more symbolic and meaningless gesture?

I am just a simple Flyover Land Jacksonian American, where I come from the wishes of grieving families where it is possible are honored.

So those who maintain that we who are outraged are barking at nothing.

Explain this puzzle to me.

If the Crescent has no definitive symbolic meaning in the title "Crescent of Embrace", where lies the great difficulty in changing one simple word?


Posted by ky/kentuckydan at 6:43 PM CDT
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Updated: Sunday, 3 June 2007 7:11 AM CDT

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