September 15, 2005

Crescent of Embrace


Over the last week, there's been a fully justified controversy over the proposed Flight 93 memorial, called "Crescent of Embrace", because its red crescent shape is a symbol of the hijackers' religion. AP reports today that the architect has offered to alter his design due to public criticism. That's a start, but Michelle Malkin warns that the controversy is not over.

Commentary on the proposed memorial:

Flight 93, Re-Hijacked by Mark Steyn:

The memorial is called "The Crescent of Embrace." That sounds like a fabulous winning entry -- in a competition to create a note-perfect parody of effete multicultural responses to terrorism. Indeed, if anything, it's too perfect a parody: the "embrace" is just the usual huggy-weepy reconciliatory boilerplate, but the "crescent" transforms its generic cultural abasement into something truly spectacular. In the design plans, "The Crescent of Embrace" looks more like the embrace of the Crescent -- ie, Islam. After all, what better way to demonstrate your willingness to "embrace" your enemies than by erecting a giant Islamic crescent at the site of the day's most unambiguous episode of American heroism?"

Monumental surrender by Michelle Malkin:

Let's set aside the utter boneheaded-ness of using a symbol that, inadvertently or not, commemorates the killers' faith instead of the victims' revolt. The soft-and-fuzzy memorial design of "Crescent of Embrace" still does injustice to the steely courage of the 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. This is no way to fight a war. Or to remember those who have died fighting it.

Speaking of Ground Zero, visit Take Back The Memorial for the latest on the WTC 9/11 memorial fight.

For more on the proposed Flight 93 memorial, see Charles Johnson (and here) and Belmont Club.

UPDATE I -- Sept. 16: Michelle Malkin has more.

UPDATE II -- Sept. 18: Tim Sumner, founder of 9/11 Families for America and a staunch supporter of the Take Back The Memorial campaign at Ground Zero, has a dissenting opinion of the criticism of the proposed Flight 93 memorial: Paul Murdoch's design is perfect for the Flight 93 memorial, that American ground where 40 heroes fell.

Could Paul Murdoch change the design and put an end to this controversy? Perhaps. If he does, will the bloggers take a fresh, objective look at his design? I hope so and I also hope that we don't let Islamic terrorists dictate every word in English we decide to keep or toss out. I ask my friends in the blogging community to take a few deep breaths as the memorial selection process continues. I think most folks will support what the selection committee finally decides upon for the Flight 93 memorial. Will everyone approve of it? No yet the Flight 93 memorial will never be desecrated by those creating it. What could happen is a group of otherwise intelligent internet bloggers will inadvertently and unfairly diminish the reputations of the good people creating the Flight 93 memorial.

Read the whole thing for Tim's full argument. I respectfully disagree with him that the design should remain a crescent, despite the fact that the design was approved by some family members. I'm readily willing to give the benefit of the doubt that not everyone involved in approving the design understood the significance of the crescent in Islam. But the Islamists know it, and they are the ones who will exploit it. Symbolism played a crucial role in the 9/11 attacks; the terrorists wanted to destroy symbols of American power and freedom as well as Americans themselves. To grant them the placement of one of their own symbols on the very site where Americans began fighting back is unacceptable.

Yes, crescents and the color red are used in many ways unrelated to Islam. Likewise, red circles are used in ways unrelated to Japan. But for good reasons I doubt you'll find a red circle as the centerpiece of any Pearl Harbor memorial.

Posted by Forkum at September 15, 2005 04:46 PM