Objections to the barely-modified Crescent of Embrace design for the Flight 93 memorial
Information compiled by Bill Steiner, in collaboration and with editorial assistance from Alec Rawls
Contact Bill Steiner at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Item 1. Bill's draft of a petition calling for a Congressional inquiry into the troubling facts about the crescent design before the crescent project is allowed to proceed any further.
Item 2. Alec Rawls' geometrical analysis of the Islamic and jihadist design elements in the crescent memorial (the four page flyer handed out at Memorial Project meeting in Somerset, 2/18/06).
Item 3. Bill Steiner's initial objection to the Crescent of Embrace design, lodged July 31st, 2005, before architect Paul Murdoch's Crescent was announced as the winning design.
Item 4. "A Daughter's Thoughts."
Item 5. Additional references.
With the utmost solemn respect to the victims and families of the downing of Flight 93, the attached material is offered with a fervent request for a comprehensive Congressional investigation into all aspects of the Flight 93 Memorial design and how it came to contain so many obvious and subtle symbols and orientations associated with the religious background of those who perpetrated this heinous and despicable criminal act of terror.
It is most unfortunate that there is still a compelling need at this late date to pursue investigation into the basic facts of Paul Murdoch's barely modified Crescent of Embrace design, but all previous efforts to get the Memorial Project to investigate even the most basic warnings--such as the Mecca-orientation of Murdoch's giant crescent, and the continued presence of this Mecca-oriented crescent in the redesign--have fallen on barren ground. Those of us who do call for investigation, nay demand it, do so with care and respect. We are bonded with you in your sorrow and pain. We weep each time we visit. We are truly with you.
The lack of attention to these seemingly bizarre facts that we find so troubling may lie in that very bizarreness. Could an American architect actually place the central feature of every mosque--a crescent that people face into to face Mecca--on the graves of heroes who died fighting radical Islamic terrorism? It sounds too outlandish to believe. But what is even more bizarre is that such a plan could succeed. We are as reluctant to suspect conspiracies as anyone else, but we cannot be oblivious to evidence of conspiracy. The terrorists who struck on September 11th were the spearhead of a conspiracy of grand proportions, and facts are facts. Post 9/11, we must be willing to connect the dots, which requires first being willing to look at the dots, something the Memorial Project has refused to do.
There is also now tremendous momentum behind the chosen design, powered by large investments of time, money, and hopes for the aggrieved families to have this labor completed. But if all that effort goes into placing an inappropriate religious construct on the Flight 93 crash site, it is worse than for naught. We will have allowed Flight 93 to be hijacked again, successfully this time, betraying the fighting spirit of Flight 93.
Most who take the time to read and understand the referenced information will find themselves taken aback and convinced that something is terribly wrong in proceeding with Paul Murdoch's crescent design. All we call for is an investigation, and trust that revelation of the facts will lead to an appropriate outcome. The Mecca orientation of the original crescent is a fact. That the defining structures of the original crescent all remain intact and unchanged in the redesign is a fact. It is also a fact that a crescent or arch shape that people face into to face Mecca is the central feature of every mosque. If these assertions of fact do not stand up to scrutiny, if the other alarming facts that are alleged do not stand up to scrutiny, then we stand corrected. If these facts do stand up to scrutiny, then the crescent memorial must stand down. We could not permit the memorial to be built in the shape of a cross. We obviously cannot allow it to be built around Islamic symbolism either. Doing so would be akin to placing a swastika on a holocaust memorial.
The troubling evidence that needs to be investigated is referenced below. Please come to grips with all of it. Our debt to the vigilance of Flight 93 demands at least this due diligence.
If you want to send this draft as a letter, cut and paste to any or all of the following addresses (or send your own letter):
Gale Norton, Secretary of the Interior (who must sign off in the final design):
John Reynolds, Chairman, Flight 93 Memorial Project, email@example.com.
Joanne Hanley, Superintendent, Flight 93 Memorial Project: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jeff Reinbold, Project Manager, Flight 93 Memorial Project: email@example.com.
Your Congressional representative: http://www.house.gov/writerep/.
Item 2. Sufficient information for understanding the Islamic and jihadist geometries of the crescent design is presented in the four page handout compiled by Alec Rawls and handed out by Bill Steiner and his compatriots at the February 18th meeting on the Flight 93 Memorial held in Somerset Pennsylvania. Handout here.
Item 3. Bill Steiner's earlier letter objecting to having the Crescent of Embrace amongst the finalists for the memorial competition.
To whom it may concern: July 31, 2005
Re: Outrageous & Inappropriate Design Entry for Flight 93 Memorial
Today, my wife and I visited the Georgian Place in Somerset, PA to view the five (5) Flight 93 Memorial designs chosen as final entries by the jury empanelled for that purpose.
These can be viewed in part by entering this website:
All of the final entrants produced superior work in quality and presentation, but we were shocked to discover that the design entitled, “CRESCENT OF EMBRACE” features a perfectly shaped Islamic Red Crescent when viewed from above. An inadvertent coincidence, we are certain.
The crescent feature is the centerpiece in this design. It is perfectly proportioned to resemble those found on the minarets of mosques in any photo we have ever seen. Its shape is NOT that of a crescent moon, but more fully circular and precisely tapered to resemble the Islamic Crescent, a predominant symbol of the Islamic Religion. The horns of the crescent are pointed directly at the crash site! The architect’s view in the Somerset display clearly and strikingly details the Red Crescent on a light field.
A more subdued version of the design is found in the rendering of “The Bowl”. Please click here: http://www.flight93memorialproject.org/docs/F93%20Board%2030x40%204-5.pdf
The dark reddish border of trees can be detected upon closer examination using the “zoom” feature.
If this design is chosen, it will contain not only the perfectly proportioned Islamic Crescent shape done in deciduous trees, which in Autumn, will turn brilliant red to be seen by everyone especially those in the air, but also, this design embraces the word “Crescent” as a primary word in name and theme.
For these reasons, my wife and I find the “CRESCENT OF EMBRACE” design entry, however well done, to be grossly inappropriate, disrespectful, and in especially poor taste, given the religious background of the zealots who perpetrated this event and the worldwide conflict with militant Islamists in which we are currently engaged...political correctness be damned!
It causes one to ask out loud, “What on earth were they thinking of?”
The “Crescent of Embrace” cannot be permitted to stand as a viable entry for this memorial!
Thank you very much,
William G. Steiner
201 Center Ave.
Mt. Pleasant, PA 15666
P.S. Shanksville, PA is situated on a major East-West commercial aircraft flyway.
Item 4. From Bill Steiner's daughter.
“A Daughter’s Thoughts” February 16, 2006
Architects are trained to employ symbolism in their designs all the time, especially when dealing with a memorial. Also, visitors to a memorial often ask the question, "What does it all stand for and mean?". Therefore, when I observe the winning design the most important question I ask is, What does it mean?. The meaning is in the symbols. I see the crescent or circle (ends up being a crescent even if you add or subtract a few trees). The next symbol is the "Tower of Voices", lastly, the 44 clear blocks.
I investigated the symbolism of the crescent and found a reference to a pre-Islamic deity named "Hubal". Hubal was the pagan moon god who was worshiped at the Kaaba (spelling) at Mecca. The Hubal idol was supposed to be made from red agate. When Mohammad came to Mecca he destroyed all the idols including the Hubal idol. Muslims were to only worship Allah, not idols. A crescent moon often adorns the spire of a minaret. I believe the significance of the red crescent is a tribute the Hubal idol that was carved from red agate. (Please see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hubal for more details.)
The Tower of Voices:
The 44 glass blocks:
I believe the winning design makes an undeniably striking and beautiful park. However, this park, as a tribute and reminder of the events of September 11, does not, at least for me, evoke the emotions I felt as I listened to the events of that terribly beautiful blue-sky day, both on my television and on my home Fire/Police radio scanner. I happen to live within 40 miles of the Shanksville Somerset crash site. As I watched the morning news stations broadcast the LIVE images from New York City, I also, as usual for any day, was listening to our home local Fire/Police radio. I heard talk regarding New York City from personnel and dispatchers, I heard an announcement that all units were to remain in their respective home districts until directed to do otherwise, and that a plane had possibly crashed or been forced down in Somerset. TERROR is a word that hardly describes my thoughts and emotions as I realized that not only was My country being attacked but also that these attacks were occurring in MY BACKYARD (so to speak).
I have visited the Shanksville Flight 93 crash site. This is not an easy thing to do, as seeing through tears and breathing becomes difficult when I struggle to take in the meaning of the open fields with the wind blowing, and the silence, and I do mean SILENCE, as I don't think I have ever experienced even more so than in a funeral home or church. I have visited many historical sites as I enjoy exploring and experiencing the locations of historical importance. Gettysburg, Antietam, and the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington D.C. as well as other sites have I explored, read about, and while present, had moments when it was difficult to see and breath as the realization of the importance of the events, flooded through my mind.
When I look at the selected design for the Flight 93 location I see a Large Red Crescent. THE symbol of the terrorist for me, as the terrorist twist their religion of Peace into an ugly perversion. What is missing from the selected design is the emotional impact of the events of September 11 in Somerset, when 40 Patriots gave their lives so the 4 terrorists would not accomplish their task. There are many historical places of importance in the world I'll never be capable of visiting, many people from all over the world HAVE already visited the temporary memorial in Shanksville. They did not come to visit and to enjoy a beautiful park, they came to experience and witness a moment in history that has forever changed our world.
Item 5. Additional references:
* Wikipedia's reference to juror/family-member Tom Burnett Sr.'s objections to the crescent design during the jury process:
During their deliberations, the use of the term crescent, did come up. It was raised in the written comments of one person — out of 400 — who viewed the five finalists on display. In addition, Tom Burnett Sr., whose son (Tom Burnett) died in the crash, said he made an impassioned speech to his fellow jurors about what he felt the crescent represented. "I explained this goes back centuries as an old-time Islamic symbol," Burnett said. "I told them we'd be a laughing stock if we did this."  From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flight_93_National_Memorial
* Mr. Rawls's more in depth analyses of Islamic and jihadist elements in the crescent design can be found in these posts on his ErrorTheory blog:
"Forty-four dead people, forty-four translucent blocks on the flight path," 9/24/2005.
"Tower of Voices also oriented on Mecca," 9/30/2005.
"Crescent tower is an Islamic prayer-time sundial," 10/7/2005.
"Redesigned Flight 93 memorial still an Islamo-fascist shrine, " 11/30/2005.
"Flight 93 Memorial ACTION ALERT: Stop the terrorist-memorial mosque!," 2/15/2006.