That was the call to arms, the cavalry charge sounded by Todd Beamer aboard United Airlines Flight 93 on September 11th, 2001. The forty passengers and crew decided to not be helpless pawns of what they now knew were jihadist hijackers – through their cell phones they had learned of the attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center – but to do what they could to foil the plans of the “martyrs.”
Their weapons? No muskets, no swords, no artillery, no firing from behind fences and trees as Americans did at Lexington and Concord. They had to settle for a beverage cart to ram through the locked pilot’s door and then hope to grapple with the two hijackers who were steering an erratic course to Washington, D.C., possibly to crash the plane into either the Capitol Building or the White House. It could just as well have been the Washington Monument, or the Lincoln or Jefferson Memorials. The passengers’ object was to neutralize the hijackers “with extreme prejudice” and regain control of the plane.
It is not known if they succeeded in breaking into the cabin, and throttled the two hijackers and recaptured the captain’s chair. Whatever the cause, the plane dived nose first into a Pennsylvania field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, in Somerset County.
And what is being constructed to commemorate the heroism of those passengers? Not much.
Cynthia Yacowar-Sweeney of Canada Free Press notes in her startling article, “Under Construction – The Other 9/11 Mosque,”
With eyes on New York, [on the Ground Zero mosque] it’s easy to overlook the other ground-zero mosque that is presently being built in Shanksville, Pennsylvania at the Flight 93 crash site. That 9/11 site is home to what will soon be the world’s largest open-air mosque disguised as a memorial, contends author Alec Rawls. After five years of insignificant media coverage and minimal public awareness, construction of the Flight 93 Memorial centerpiece is already in progress. The giant half-mile wide Islamic-shaped red crescent of maple trees is slated for completion next year on the 10th anniversary of 9/11, when the autumn leaves of the crescent’s trees turn a brilliant flaming red.
An earlier article by Clinton W. Taylor in The American Spectator, “Monumental Failure,” claims that the crescent of maple trees has been turned into a circle. According to Alex Rawls, who claims in his yet-to-be-released book, Crescent of Betrayal: Dishonoring the Heroes of Flight 93, that the whole memorial, once completed, will be nothing less than the largest outdoor mosque in existence. Rawls, reports Sweeney, claims there is hardly a facet of the final design that still does not incorporate or at least suggest basic mosque design features, most notably the crescent and a minaret-like tower, which face Mecca.
According to Rawls, this crescent is one of many mosque features embedded in architect Paul Murdoch’s winning “Crescent of Embrace” design, later changed mainly in name only, to “Circle of Embrace”. Another important and mandatory mosque feature is Mecca orientation for prayer. For this memorial to be a proper mosque, it must face Mecca. And Rawls proves it does, in his book “Crescent of Betrayal: Dishonoring the Heroes”. Using math and geometry, Rawls calculates that the center of the crescent points almost exactly towards Mecca. That makes the Flight 93 Memorial a mosque.
But, just as the “memorial” to the casualties at the World Trade Center has been mired in politics and governed by a cloying philosophy of “grief,” with the consequence that what was decided on – by committee, by consensus – will satisfy no one and will certainly not “memorialize” all who died on that site, so has the one scheduled for Shanksville. The Pentagon 9/11 memorial is also a study in “grief.” The Shanksville memorial may or may not have incorporated mosque features in its design. What cannot be denied is that the design is extraordinarily vacuous.
Going to the National Park Service website to study perspectives of the memorial, one is stymied. Click on the highlighted “The Memorial Design” link, and nothing happens; one must be satisfied with the NPS’s assurances that construction of the memorial is underway. All the other highlighted links work but that one:
Construction is underway. We are on schedule to dedicate the initial phase of the permanent memorial on September 11, 2011. Learn more about the design and the entire plan to construct the memorial.
Is the National Park Service (NPS) so ashamed of the design that, in the grand tradition of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, it won’t permit anyone to see “what’s in it” until it is finished? Is it so nondescript, banal and noncommittal that the NPS knows that people will be astonished by how much the design is an exercise in blandness, and raise objections, if not for its non-statement, then for its mosque elements?
Yes, to both questions. As Clinton W. Taylor indicates in his American Spectator article, a circle of maple trees, a tower of wind chimes, and other oddities do not a monument or memorial make – except, perhaps, to the sensitive pragmatism of the designers and to those who sanctioned the design. Taylor writes:
I don't think Paul Murdoch Architects, the L.A.-based firm who came up with this harbors some deep affinity for Taliban hegemony. On the other hand, I do believe that the revised plan is so vague that it is possible to find any number of conflicting interpretations within its incoherent and nihilistic expanse.
The conflicts and controversy over these three “memorials” reveal an underlying but unacknowledged fear of Islam. No one wants to name the ideology or the religion of the hijackers. That would be “offensive” and serve to invite charges of anti-Muslimism or anti-Islamism or disrespect for Islam or prejudice against Islam. So virtually everyone involved in choosing memorial designs has steered a pragmatic middle course, and settled for something to “remember” the “victims” – not casualties, as they actually were, because we are demonstrably at war with Islam, just as all who died during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor are not referred to as victims, but as casualties. The committees, the boards, the designers all felt compelled to do something because of the historic nature of the attacks, and know that they must acknowledge it -- somehow.
As the rebuilding of the World Trade Center was subjected to a design competition and a public vote, which vote the bureaucratic entity in charge of the project chose to ignore, the design for the selected Shanksville memorial, with subsequent alterations, from over 1,000 submissions, was then subjected to deliberation by a committee and jury overseen by the NPS, which had bought the land on which the plane crashed. Why the NPS should have intruded on the matter is easily explained: No national monument or memorial can be erected without the approval of a bureaucracy.
Self-censorship is a deep-rooted psychological phenomenon, a congenital act of repression, as well as a political issue. It will not manifest itself in an individual in so revealing an introspective message as: “I’d just rather not provoke Muslims by accusing their brothers of being responsible for 9/11, I don’t want to be accused of bigotry or anything like that, I’m too cowardly, so I’ll just go along with whatever someone else suggests, so long as it’s not discriminatory or judgmental.” In such a mind, the door is shut and locked to such thoughts. It manifests itself in a circumspect advocacy of the safely banal and in virulent opposition to anyone not so repressed or self-censored.
Sweeney warns in her article that,
Intentional or not, the symbolism does matter and has remained an issue of grave concern for many, especially against the backdrop of the growing threat of Sharia Law in America - the legal code of the Quran which can be brutally oppressive when interpreted by radical Islamists who view the West as the enemy to be conquered.
The controversy over the Shanksville memorial design doubtless has been noted by Islamists here and abroad. Their chortles and snickers will grow louder and bolder when the memorial is completed. Sweeney concludes,
If Rawls is correct in his contention that the memorial is truly a victory mosque in disguise, then there is ample reason for concern, given that many American mosques are funded by Saudi Arabia, the country that gave America 15 of the 19 terrorists on 9/11, and are radicalized by its Wahhabi hardliners - meaning that these radicals choose and train the imams and also write or give final approval of the sermons.
If Rawls is correct, then one should expect to see, after the memorial is opened to the public, large numbers of Muslims flocking to it to say prayers, very likely in a special space provided to them by our dhimmi National Park Service.
Virtually everyone with any say-so in the Shanksville design has lacked the courage and resolution of Flight 93’s passengers and crew. They will not get behind the beverage cart of facts, suspicious coincidences, and speculation and smash through the wall of evasion, self-censorship, and dhimmitude to identify and acknowledge the cause of their circumstances.
Americans died at Lexington and Concord. See French’s “memorial” to them here, or Kitson’s “memorial” here. Or the Iwo Jima Memorial, here. These are not “memorials.” They are proper and proud tributes to heroism. What the passengers of Flight 93 deserve is not a “memorial,” but a monument to their intrepidness and their refusal to become “victims.”