Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Pennsylvanians build an organization to stop the Flight 93 memorial
Angry over the Islamic symbolism contained in the Flight 93 Memorial Design, which appears to honor both the heroes and the terrorists, a group of concerned citizens asked Harry Beam (Lt. Col. U.S. Army Retired) to lead an organized effort to have the design changed.
Col. Beam said he examined several different factors before agreeing to lead the effort. First, he found that the people making the request are credible. Tom Burnett (father of a Flight 93 Hero) is demanding change to the memorial design. Additionally, Col. Beam states that he has talked to MD’s, PhD’s., Attorneys, School Teachers, Nurses, Pastors, Skilled and Unskilled Workers, Veterans and Retirees who are upset with the actions of the Flight 93 Planning Committee and the National Park Service. Second, Beam said he had to determine the validity of the assertions that there is Islamic symbology in the memorial design. He stated, “I will be the first to admit that several years ago, when I first heard about the Red Crescent, I assumed that it was a matter of co-incidence. After researching the design, I found there are many (8) additional co-incidents which cause one to question the design and the designer.” The fact that the Red Crescent points towards Mecca in the same manner a Mosque would if it were built on the site. The fact that there are 44 glass blocks included in the design (40 passengers and crew; 4 terrorists) are just two more of the eight examples of co-incidence.
The third factor was that the statements from Subject Matter Experts (SME’s) opining on the symbolism issue were not credible. Their opinions, presented to the U.S. National Park Service and the Memorial Project, were contradictory. One SME stated “because the earth is round, you can face any direction and be facing Mecca.” Most 5th graders know that is false. The statement also conflicted with another SME who said “the orientation to Mecca must be exact.” Many mosques do not have an exact Mecca orientation. One of the SME’s was a classmate of the designer, Paul Murdock.
When asked, how do you hope to accomplish your goal of changing an approved national Flight 93 memorial plan? Beam responded “I know that it will be an up-hill fight, but our Flight 93 Heroes deserve a better memorial than one that also pays tribute to the Islamic terrorists”. This will be a massive grassroots effort throughout the country to sway the opinions of the Department of Interior, the National Park Service, the Flight 93 Planning Committee and our lawmakers to change the current design. When people hear the facts concerning the current design, they are angered and ask “How was the fraudulent design approved?” Email and written petitions are being circulated not only locally but throughout the nation. Although we have just started, we have thousands who have signed petitions. We are certain that number will increase. Currently, letters and phone calls are beginning to be made to lawmakers. Congressman Tancredo has asked the National Park Service to change the design and remove the Islamic symbology; we hope to get other lawmakers to support his efforts. This fight transcends politics. It is not a Republican or Democrat issue – It is Americans demanding that our Flight 93 Heroes get a National Memorial that honors their memory – not the memory of Islamic terrorists. Anyone wishing to obtain a written petition or sign an electronic petition, can go to www.crescentofbetrayal.com. Persons interested in assisting in this effort can contact Col. Beam at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By VICKI ROCK Daily American Staff Writer
Friday, April 25, 2008The father of a United Flight 93 passenger has renewed his call for an investigation into the Flight 93 National Memorial design.
Tom Burnett Sr., father of Tom Burnett Jr., has started circulating a petition in support of his cause.
“It is an insult to my son, Tom, and to the other murdered heroes of Flight 93 who stopped Islamic terrorists from destroying the White House or the Capitol that terrible September day,” he wrote of the memorial in a letter accompanying the petition.
Burnett said the original “Crescent of Embrace” design was laid out in the crescent and star configuration of an Islamic flag. Even if that similarity was unintentional, it would still be intolerable, he wrote.
“That is like seeing an airliner fly into the World Trade Center and thinking that it can’t be intentional,” Burnett wrote. “Worst of all, the memorial project refuses to confront voluminous evidence that the Islamic symbolism is intentional.”
In a telephone interview, Burnett said he has opposed the design since it was selected in 2005. He is speaking to various civic groups and to news media about the petition drive, which calls for both an investigation into the current design and for a new design.
“I have to do this because of my son,” he said. “I want people to think and to look at the design.”
He wrote remarks that U.S. Rep. Jim Ramstad of Minnesota had inserted into the Congressional Record. Burnett lives in Northfield, Minn.
“My son confronted a terrible moment of truth,” he wrote. “Faced with a plot against our nation, he and the other heroes of Flight 93 fought back, and at the cost of their lives, foiled that plot to destroy the White House or the Capitol. Now it is time for the rest of us to face our moment of truth. Flight 93 has been rehijacked, and I am requesting that, if you can, demand that a proper investigation of the memorial project be conducted.”
He does not want his son’s name used anywhere on the memorial, he said.
His wife, Beverly, said when he came out of the meeting of the second jury that picked the design, he spoke out loudly against it. He was a member of that jury. Other people blew him off, she said. If they had listened to him and looked at it, this would have been resolved long ago.
“They felt Tom would go away,” she said. “They take great pleasure in attacking him. We have freedoms; everyone has a right to voice their opinion. That is what happened on the airplane. Tom didn’t look for or recruit people to support him. Others saw the same thing.”
She would like the temporary memorial to be used as the permanent one. She also wants the crash site to remain secured and for any human remains that couldn’t be returned to families to be buried.
Patrick White, vice president of The Families of Flight 93 and co-chairman of the Flight 93 National Memorial Task Force, said in a telephone interview that the design was chosen in a democratic process.
“Those who have most recently appointed themselves to protect the memorial misguidedly believe that their repeatedly shown-to-be-false assumptions actually somehow support their opinion that the design and the selection process were flawed,” he said.
“The design selection process was democratic and the majority ruled,” White said. “Jurors gave all of Mr. Burnett’s concerns a complete airing, and he even gave his consent to support what the majority picked. Now he and others want a do-over. No one agreed then with Mr. Burnett’s preferred choice for a final design, so now we have thinly veiled challenges of the design and the process that are the same old claims. This is the same old hash being re-heated with a hotter flame. I don’t see how anyone who takes the time to see how the hash was made is going to think it tastes better. This manufactured controversy is quite disappointing and is ever more hurtful to other family members. They may have preferred another design, but now support the one chosen, knowing as did those on the plane, the majority rules.”
Gordon Felt, president of the Families of Flight 93, had a similar comment.
“It is unfortunate that so many good citizens are being misled by a few self-proclaimed ‘saviors’ of all things proper and patriotic,” he wrote in an e-mail. “The level of misinformation and obfuscation related to the open and democratic process that has driven the development and progress of the Flight 93 National Memorial design is discouraging. Nevertheless, we are confident that when presented with the facts related to the design and design process, those individuals in opposition to the design will see its simplistic beauty and ability to honor the 40 heroes of United Flight 93."
Alec Rawls, an author and blogger who has opposed the design from the start, said they have 4,500 electronic signatures on the petition so far. The petition is online at www.ipetitions.com/petition/HonorFlight93.
Paper petitions are being circulated in Somerset and Cambria counties. The petition is to be presented to Congress, but a copy will be presented to the Flight 93 Advisory Commission on May 3 at its meeting in Somerset.
If a petition is presented at the meeting, the Families of Flight 93 may respond more at that time, White said.
Carole O’Hare, daughter of Flight 93 passenger Hilda Marcin, said the majority of the Flight 93 families support the current design “as a place of honor and healing, not as a religious icon.” She encouraged the petitioners and other people to learn more about the selected design at www.nps.gov/flni.
Rawls won’t be attending the May 3 meeting, but Harry Beam, Johnstown, and Bill Steiner, Mount Pleasant, will. The Burnetts have a scheduling conflict and aren’t sure if they will be able to attend.
“The success of our petition shows that the American people object to these Islamic symbol shapes, whether they are intentional or not,” Rawls said.
Beam, a retired Army colonel, said he first thought the design was a matter of coincidence, but he has found eight additional coincidences.
“I know it will be an uphill fight, but our Flight 93 heroes deserve a better memorial than one that also pays tribute to the Islamic terrorists,” Beam said. “This fight transcends politics. It is not a Republican or Democrat issue — it is Americans demanding that our Flight 93 heroes get a national memorial that honors their memory — not the memory of Islamic terrorists.”
The group is considering holding a rally on May 3, he said, but no decision has been made.
“If 5,000 signatures, coming from 50 states and more than a dozen foreign nations, are not enough to get the design changed, then we will begin contacting veterans, fraternal, civic and religious organizations, along with the national media, to apply more pressure for change,” Beam said.