Some design contest jury members reportedly raised concerns about the jarring symbol of the hijackers' faith implanted on the hallowed ground where the passengers of Flight 93 were murdered. But their recommendations to change the name of the memorial (to "Arc of Embrace," or some such whitewashing) were ignored. Memorial architect Paul Murdoch, whose firm emphasizes "environmental responsibility and sustainability," did not return calls and e-mails seeking comment, but he did emphasize to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that his creation was about "healing" and "contemplation." He is also proud of his idea to hang a bunch of wind chimes in a tall tower at the site as a "gesture of healing and bonding."
Wind chimes? Hey, why not add pinwheels and smiley face stickers and Care Bears while we're at it, too?
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 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.
A proper war memorial stirs to anger and action. We all remember passenger Todd Beamer's last heard words as he and his fellow Americans prepared to take back the plane from al Qaeda's killers, don't we?
No, the phrase wasn't "Let's meditate." It was "Let's roll."