Two years ago U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo asked the Park Service to revamp a proposed memorial to the heroics of Flight 93 passengers and crew, who died trying to retake their airliner from terrorists on Sept. 11, 2001, because of its use of a crescent, an Islamic symbol.
But the crescent remains, and now he’s telling officials to scrap the plan and start all over.
“I sincerely hope that you will direct the committee to scrap the crescent design entirely in favor of a new design that will not make the memorial a flashpoint for this kind of controversy and criticism,” the Colorado Republican told Mary Bomar, the director of the National Park Service, in a letter this week.
As WND reported earlier, the father of one of those heroes, Tom Burnett, who led other passengers in an effort to overcome the Flight 93 terrorists, is banning the use of his son’s name at the memorial because of its Islamic symbolism.
Tom Burnett Sr. told a blogger who also has been campaigning against the “Crescent of Embrace” design for the memorial that he won’t allow his son’s name to be used on any memorial with Islamic components.
“With the crescent design still going forward, he has decided that it is necessary to up the ante, and has authorized me to publicize his decision to protest the crescent design by insisting that Tom Jr.’s name not be inscribed on one of the 44 glass blocks emplaced along the flight path, or used anywhere else in the memorial,” Alec Rawls wrote earlier.
WND also reported earlier on Rawls’ book, “Crescent of Betrayal: Dishonoring the Heroes of Flight 93,” published by World Ahead. It documents a long list of Islamic and terrorist memorializing features in the Flight 93 National Memorial.
The crash site at the memorial is approximately where the star is on Islamic star-and-crescent flags
“I am regrettably writing you in reference to the proposed memorial to commemorate the victims of Flight 93 which crashed in Pennsylvania on September 11, 2001. As you may know, I contacted Director Mainella in late 2005 about my concerns with the design,” Tancredo said in his letter.
“The appropriateness of the original design, dubbed the ‘Crescent of Embrace,’ was questioned because of the crescent’s prominent use as a symbol in Islam – and the fact that the hijackers were radical Islamists. As I pointed out in my September 2005 letter, the use of the crescent has raised questions in some circles about whether the design would make the memorial a tribute to the hijackers rather than the victims whose mission the flights passengers helped to thwart,” he wrote.
“When I received Director Mainella’s response to my letter on October 6, 2005, I was pleased to read her assurance that the advisory committee and the architect were amenable to ‘refinements in the design which will include negating any perceptions to the iconography.’ I was also pleased to learn that the name of the memorial was to be changed,” Tancredo said.
“Unfortunately, it appears that little if any substantive changes to the most troubling aspect of the design – the crescent shape – have been made. This deeply concerns me,” he said.
He said using it is “unsuitable” to use an Islamic symbol as a way to honor the Flight 93 heroes “or the ensuing American struggle against radical Islam that their historic last act has come to symbolize.”
Tancredo’s spokesman T.Q. Houlton, told WND the congressman has a high level of concern that the memorial will end up being just what he warned against – an Islamic crescent.
Rawls noted that for those not familiar, the original design would have planted a naked Islamic crescent and star flag on the crash site:
But he said the changes from “Crescent of Embrace” to “Bowl of Embrace” are insignificant, and importantly, the crescent shape was not changed, only “very slightly disguised.”
“Representative Tancredo was right to demand removal of the crescent. It turns out that a person facing directly into the half mile wide crescent will be facing Mecca. That makes it a mihrab, the central feature around which every mosque is built,” he said.
Burnett also reports he has written to Congress, and to various newspapers a number of times condemning in the strongest possible terms the design.
“It is unmistakably an Islamic symbol,” charged Burnett: “The red Crescent of Embrace… bastardizes what my son and others did on Flight 93.”
Rawls noted that newspapers have declined to publish the letters from Burnett, who served for part of the selection process for the design, which he describes as being “railroaded.”
“By consensus the Stage Two jury forwards this section of the Flight 93 memorial to the partner [architect Paul Murdoch] with the full and unqualified support of each juror,” said the report that was issued.
On the contrary, says Burnett, the vote was NOT unanimous: “It was 9 to 6,” and Burnett for one remained adamantly opposed to the crescent design.
Rawls described the memorial as “a terrorist memorial mosque, built around the half mile wide Mecca oriented crescent.”
“Millions of Americans and I find the ‘red crescent of embrace’ an insult to my son, and the others on Flight 93, who engaged in a violent and valiant struggle to take that plane back from the Islamic hijackers,” Burnett said.
“What I am pre-eminently concerned about is what our countrymen will feel and learn when they visit the site. The story, when properly presented, will properly honor and properly reverberate in history what those heroes accomplished for their fellow Americans, and for the entire Western world. I would want them to feel the desperateness of those aboard Flight 93 as they became aware of what was happening, and the cold realization of what they had to do. I want them to ask themselves, ‘what would I have done, had I been aboard that flight?’ We know that in very little time the passengers got out of their seats and attempted to take back that airplane. They tried. We believe, with more time, they could have,” he continued.
“No, I cannot approve the suggested memorial, ‘red crescent of embrace.’ That was accepted without unanimity, by Jury Two, August 2005. It should be thrown out. It is unmistakably an Islamic symbol that has been used by Muslims for centuries. A jarring symbol that, inadvertently or not, commemorates – on such hallowed ground – the hijackers’ faith, and on the site where 40 Americans, 40 heroes, died,” he said.
“This is a memorial to the terrorists who killed those people, not a memorial to the folks who died there innocently,” said Rev. Ron McRae, head of the Bible Anabaptist Church near Jerome, Pa., about 55 miles from Pittsburgh.