Thursday, September 15, 2005

It's never time to go all wobbly

Mr. Bingley fires a welcome broadside into the ridiculous Crescent of Embrace proposal to mark the final resting place of Flight 93 on September 11, 2001:
How does staring wistfully out across a meadow show any respect or appreciation of the valor shown by those wonderful folks? Why are we so ashamed of acts of valor that we have to tone the story of them down for future generations?
Indeed. Check the five finalists and, aside from the simpering banality of the designs, dig the muddled preachle that 'inspired' them:

"The roofscape violently punctures the threshold of the Sacred Ground, its tip rupturing the earth’s delicate fabric. The words “1003:11 Sacred Ground” and the empowering mission statement mark the roofscape’s end."

"Empowering mission statement"? How about, "Let's roll!"

"Memory Trail reconciles the design of a memorial honoring those who lost their lives in Somerset County, Pennsylvania on September 11, 2001 with a site left wounded by years of strip-mining. We seek to help heal both the losses of loved ones and the sacred ground where they came to rest."

Yup, strip-mining. Remarkably, the design that went with this piffle did not include a cigar-store wooden Indian shedding a single tear of pure mineral water.

"Our proposed memorial expression, and the materials by which it is made, is guided by a belief that meaning can emerge when we join with others and honor a place through social as well as physical means."

Oh, that's why forty people gave their lives - so that meaning can emerge! Said meaning, apparently, is to bow and scrape before our moral superiors, who are willing to tolerate the whole lot of us right off the face of the earth if it makes terrorists feel better about themselves.

"The Circle of Heroism symbolizes the 40 individuals coming together in an act of collective courage that would change history."

They changed history, but don't expect us to notice.

"Forty sandstone markers are inscribed with the names, hometowns, and birthdates of those who perished here on September 11, 2001. Individual markers will be designed with the wishes of each family. We suggest, however, an overall arrangement of markers reflecting the geographical distance between the Glade and individual hometowns, and that each of the 40 markers are rotated to individual homes."

Lemme wrap my brain around this - we're going to take forty people united by their bravery and sacrifice and honor them by planting their names separately, scattered about as if they were back in their hometowns? We're doing this in the midst of a memorial located at their final resting place? For crying out loud, even M*S*A*H did better: they had all the hometowns and their distances printed on arrows, and then hung from the same pole, united. If freakin' Larry Gelbart, Alan Alda, and Mike "free Mumia" Farrell have better war memorial ideas than you do, you just suck.

"One of the first questions a visitor may ask of any memorial is, 'What does it mean?'"

That's certainly the first question on my mind after reading all this pferdkaese.

Here's a novel thought - why don't we stop trying to design these things by government commission? The whole point of Flight 93 was that the people united on their own and met the threat at hand. Let's honor them the same way. Let private persons come together, raise some funds, and build a fitting memorial of their own, that actually respects Flight 93's sacrifice; that stands as strong and resolved as they did; that recognizes that they only started a fight we still face.

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