Almost 2½ years ago, I wrote about the proposed design for the Flight 93 memorial in Shanksville, PA. The controversy then was pretty much the same as now. The thing that grabs me the most is that over 2 years has gone by and neither side is saying anything different than they were back then.
The proposed design is a crescent – the absolutely undeniable symbol of Islam known and recognized as such by every nation on earth – and it’s pointing toward the Muslim city of Mecca, to boot. When announced, the design was titled “Crescent of Embrace” by its designer. That’s a title the National Park Service has dropped, apparently due to the opposition to a design even unintentionally representative of the driving motivation behind the 9/11 attacks. As I wrote back in September of 2005:
All that said, I would submit that the distinction is immaterial. If the designer had been making a museum for WWII and had inadvertently made the building into the shape of a swastika, he’d be expected to change the design if building had not yet commenced.
It’s been 2 years since the design was unveiled and almost immediately challenged. The fact that the design remains pretty much unchanged makes me wonder whether the designer honestly believes that no other memorial design sufficiently memorializes those Americans who died on flight 93 or – as I increasingly suspect – this is a matter of the designer feeling challenged and, therefore, unwilling to give an inch. Personally, I don’t find the recent trend toward having a “memorial” be some kind of “healing” gesture, or any other such bilge-wash. A memorial is something that calls to mind (“memorializes”) a specific event or actions taken by a specific individual or group. Leave the education to a museum. Leave the “healing” to diplomats and counselors. A memorial should speak of the people involved and what they did in the event that happened that’s worthy of remembering.
I’ll repost my suggestion again. (Not that it’s ever going to be in the running, but – hey – why not?)
I propose a memorial built upon a circular stone platform 80 feet in diameter. On the platform there will be a flagpole, 40 feet high, located 20 feet from the edge of the platform at the most southern position. At 40 feet due north of the flagpole, there will begin a sculpture consisting of two distinct parts. The first is a 20 foot tall “cut-off” obelisk. Think “Washington Monument” without the pointy top.The obelisk should 5 feet on a side at the bottom with a gentle taper to 4.5 feet on a side at the top.
On the side facing away from the flagpole (the north face) should be a brief narrative of what happened on 9/11 and how Flight 93 came to its end there. My recommended text is: “On September 11, 2001, the United States was attacked by terrorists who hijacked passenger aircraft and crashed them into buildings in New York and Washington DC. On hearing about the other aircraft, the passengers on United Airlines Flight 93 rose up against the terrorists on their flight and fought to regain control of the aircraft before it was crashed into a target in Washington, DC. During the battle, Flight 93 crashed in this field. The actions of the passengers protected the lives of Americans on the ground at the cost of their own.”
The west face of the obelisk should have a carved image of the World Trade Center – just the 2 towers. This image should be stylized, not rendered realistic. The east face should have a carved image of the Pentagon. Again, it should be a stylized image.
The southern face of the obelisk (the one facing the flagpole) should have 2 images carved into it. The first, very near the top, should be a stylized image of an aircraft. It shouldn’t be a realistic image identifiable as a specific aircraft model but a fairly generic passenger jet-looking image. The aircraft should be nose up at a 30° angle, my personal recommendation is ascending to the right, tail down to the left. About halfway down the obelisk will be the other image, that of an American flag. The flag will be carved as if billowing in the wind, but still flying full from a flagpole. The pole will have its top very near the left side of the face with a slight angle as you drop down the pole toward the right, perhaps 5°. The flag will be carved with the “trailing edge” flying at this same angle “up” from the leading edge attached to the pole. The image is to invoke an ascending wind. The flag and the aircraft will be about the same length and the plane will be directly over the flag with about 5 or 10 feet of separation.
The second element of the sculpture will be a cast bronze piece on the platform directly in front of the obelisk. It will start with a curving surface. Rising out of the surface will be 40 stylized human figures from just below the waist up. The figures will be identical and will not have any specifically recognized features – they will not be identified as specific individuals. The right arms of the figures will be positioned with their hands over their hearts as if reciting the Pledge of Allegiance or singing the National Anthem. The left arms will be hanging straight down ending in balled fists. The heads of the figures will be angled as if looking up. The specific angle should be such as to have the figures looking at a flag flying from the flagpole located to the south on the platform.
On plaques mounted directly in front of figures should be the following text: “This memorial is dedicated to the heroes of Flight 93 who stood together in defense of Liberty. September 11, 2001.” The names of every passenger and crew member aboard will be listed below. Below all that, in a slightly larger font, should be “Let’s Roll.”
Have a museum or a vistors’ center located somewhere nearby but not on the platform itself.
Those fine people who stood up on that plane and made certain the world knew that America would not go quietly into the night deserve to have what they did remembered and who they were recalled. The rest is just fluff and should be left in the wind.
Even with the issues with the ICE 287(g) program, localities who are signing on are seeing positive effects. From the blog titled “Illegal Immigration” I got a link to this story at GainesvilleTimes.com. Seems the Hall County, GA sheriff is getting a return on his investment in the program fairly quickly:
Since the new program started April 4, there have been 778 people brought to the jail. The new, routine immigration checks being conducted during booking revealed those arrestees were from the United States and 18 other countries.
Cronic said word appears to be getting out about 287(g) and its implications for illegal immigrants who are arrested.
“We’ve seen a reduction in the number of immigrants that are committing crimes and being booked through (the program), which is a positive thing, and something we hoped the program would do,” Cronic said.
Three weeks and there’s a measurable improvement. It could work here, too, if only certain people who said they were for measures to deal with the illegal immigration problem in Loudoun would actually do what they said they were going to do when they were trying to get elected.
Loudounextra.com has a transcript up regarind an online Q&A session with Margaret Lewis, HCA’s Capital Division president. Definitely read the on-line version as the print on in Sunday’s paper misses some important verbiage and context. Want an example? Here’s the 1st question in the print story:
Q: I’ve noticed on HCA’s fliers that you claim you will bring new services to Loudoun County. However, when one sees the specific services offered, they are the same as Inova Loudoun Hospital’s. Why is is HCA misleading us on that?
Pretty confrontational. The on-line version shows the question had a bit more context and a little less in-your-face stuff than the print version implied:
Q: I’ve notice on HCA’s fliers that you claim that you will bring new
services to Loudoun County. However when you get down and see the
specific services offered, they are the same as Inova Loudoun’s. Why is
HCA misleading us on that if that is the case why not truly complement
the services and move to Route 50?
OK, so it’s still confrontational, but not as accusatory as the print one.
In any case, give it a read and be sure you’re getting the whole story about this.
Excellent commentary with good data points on the climate change debate can be found at Watts Up With That?, another WordPress.com blog. Of particular note is the projection and participation in the comments section by Professor Don Easterbrook formerly of the Geology Department of Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA. Cool graphs and all of that to be found over at that post, so definitely go have a read!
This past Wednesday the Department of the Interior (DoI) opened up to public commentary a proposed rule change regarding the carrying of firearms in national parks. From the DoI’s release on this issue:
The proposed update to existing regulations would allow an individual to carry a concealed weapon in national parks and wildlife refuges if, and only if, the individual is permitted to carry a concealed weapon and is authorized to do so on similar state lands in the state in which the national park or refuge is located. The proposed update is available in the Federal Register and on http://www.doi.gov.
Existing regulations regarding the carrying of firearms remain otherwise unchanged, particularly limitations on poaching and target practice and prohibitions on carrying firearms in federal buildings.
“The safety and protection of park and refuge visitors remains a top priority for the Department of the Interior,” said Secretary Kempthorne. “The proposed regulations will incorporate current state laws authorizing the possession of concealed firearms, while continuing to maintain important provisions to ensure visitor safety and resource protection.”
On February 22, 2008, Secretary Kempthorne responded to letters from 51 Senators, both Democrats and Republicans, urging him to update existing regulations which prohibit the carrying of firearms in national parks and wildlife refuges. In his response, the Secretary directed Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks Lyle Laverty “to develop and propose for public comment by April 30 Federal regulations that will update firearms policies on these lands to reflect existing Federal laws (such as those prohibiting weapons in Federal buildings) and the laws by which the host states govern transporting and carrying of firearms on their analogous public lands.”
This makes perfect sense. A citizen of a given state should not be held to a different standard when entering a park with his legally owned and carried firearm depending on whether its a state park or a federal one. The laws in many states have changed since these federal rules were enacted in the early 1980′s. An update of those rules is clearly called for as demonstrated by the letter from those 51 Senators.
If you’d like to make a comment you can go do at the Regulations.gov site right here. As usual, I recommend keeping the comments pertinent and polite.
This morning’s edition has 2 stories at the top of the front page and they demonstrate quite nicely a certain bias existent over at the Washington Post. The wider story deals with the DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) and their efforts – rather, their lack of effort – in fixing housing issues that appears to be within their mandate. For some of the poorest neighborhoods and some of the apartment buildings where people are in the worst of binds, they’ve provided the least:
The District’s Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs has a lifeline for tenants living in dangerous conditions: a multimillion-dollar fund to repair buildings when owners refuse to do the work.
But in a city vexed by dozens of distressed buildings, DCRA has rarely intervened. In the past three years, the agency spent $617,000 on repairs at neglected apartment buildings — just 4 percent of the $16.5 million in the fund — even while its inspectors chronicled rampant code violations at complexes across the city, The Washington Post found.
At 809 Kennedy St. NW, DCRA put oil in the boiler but left the other breakdowns uncorrected. Over three years, records show, the agency kicked in $626 from the repair fund to one of the most troubled buildings in the city.
Read the story (which does, by the way, warrant attention) and you’ll come away with the undeniable conclusion that the people at fault are: the DCRA (for not prioritizing better and getting fixes to housing that really needs it), the people who are supposed to be auditing the work the DCRA is doing, and the landlords of these places for not fixing this stuff like they’re supposed to.
The story directly beside this one is headlined, “Probe of USS Cole Bombing Unravels.” After going through a short introduction where it reports that all of the defendants convicted in the attack have either escaped from jail or been freed outright by the Yemeni officials allegedly “working with us” on this case, the story drops this conclusion in your lap:
The collapse of the Cole investigation offers a revealing case study of the U.S. government’s failure to bring al-Qaeda operatives and their leaders to justice for some of the most devastating attacks on American targets over the past decade.
Wait a minute. US officials have repeated asked for extradition, they’ve sent every investigatory team Yemen has allowed with all of the modern forensic techniques and equipment they can bring to bear, they’ve done everything possible to secure these prisoners short of sending in the SEALs to extract them by force so we can take custody ourselves, and when the Yemeni’s prove unable or unwilling to hold them, that represents a failure on the US Government’s part?
So – what? – the fact that the DCRA spent a measly $626 on that building in DC offers a revealing case study of the tenants’ failure to bring corrective action to their building?
Obviously not. The landlord in that DC situation clearly did not put his obligation to fix the building’s problems up front where it belonged and the people who were depending on him to take those obligations seriously were the aggrieved parties. That’s a story the WaPo clearly likes and which clearly fits their agenda, bolstering their “voice of the people” image they so covet. But applying the same logic to America’s anti-terrorism efforts would force them to recognize that we’re not at fault for every terrorist action on the planet. That just won’t do for the Washington Post and others like them so they slant the story early and often.
That Yemen wants our money (they were the ones who lobbied to have the Navy use Aden, Yemen, as a refueling stop in the first place) but refuses to help us in holding those who committed an act of war against us accountable is not a failure of the US government. It’s a failure of the Yemeni government, period. That this fact doesn’t advance the WaPo’s agenda is just too damned bad. If the WaPo actually cares about being credible, they should report the news when they say they’re reporting the news and leave the editorial commentary to the Opinion section.