Congressman Ramstad comes out in opposition to the Flight 93 memorial
Congressman Jim Ramstad (R-MN) gave a House speech this month, supporting Mr. Burnett’s opposition to the crescent design. The speech is entered in the Congressional Record here, along with supporting statements from Tom Burnett Sr. (father of murdered Flight 93 hero Tom Burnett Jr.).
That makes two Congressmen now who have come out publicly against the crescent memorial. (Tom Tancredo took the lead last November, asking the Park Service to choose a completely new design.)
News coverage revs up confrontation at this Saturday’s public meeting
Ramstad’s speech, and our ongoing petition drive, netted a full width banner headline on the front page of the Somerset Daily American, with the story continuing full width on an inside page as well. This high profile local news coverage should make for an interesting Memorial Project meeting at the Somerset County Courthouse this Saturday. Several critics will be speaking during the public comment period, and the first batch of petitions will be delivered in bulk (over 5000 signatures to date, 4700 online and 500 on paper).
The Daily American article includes lots of powerful language from Mr. Burnett and other critics of the crescent design, along with some remarkably disingenuous evasions from the usual defenders. Most egregious is Patrick White, vice president of Families of Flight 93, who tries to pretend that the criticisms of the design are all about Mr. Burnett trying to get an undemocratic “do over” after failing to stop the Crescent of Embrace design when he served on the design competition jury.
While on the jury, Mr. Burnett only complained about the giant Islamic shaped crescent and the minaret-like Tower of Voices. No one on the jury, including Mr. Burnett, knew anything about the Mecca orientation of the giant crescent; or about the placementof the 9/11 date in the exact position of the star on an Islamic crescent and star flag; or about the 44 glass blocks on the flight path; or about the fact that the Tower of Voices turns out to be a year-round accurate Islamic prayer-time sundial.
Not that the jury is beyond reproach. It was bizarre for these family members and design professionals to plant a bare naked crescent and star flag on the graves of our murdered heroes, but given everything that the jurors did NOT know, this configuration at least COULD have been an accident. What came out after the design was selected is absolute proof of terrorist memorializing intent, with every Islamic and terrorist memorializing feature being repeated in the Tower of Voices portion of the memorial.
One example is the 38 Memorial Groves. (There were supposed to be 40.) By itself, it is merely suspicious that the arc of 38 groves can be seen as a set of 19 nested crescents: one for each 9/11 hijacker. But architect Paul Murdoch proves this terrorist memorializing intent by surrounding the Tower of Voices with a second set of 19 nested crescents. And on it goes. EVERYTHING gets repeated in the Tower of Voices, and the 93 foot tall Islamic sundial is itself a very precise structure that could NEVER occur by accident.
Patrick White wants to dodge all this by pretending that the controversy is about the initial jury decision, instead of the ensuing blindness to voluminous evidence of terrorist memorializing intent. No one exemplifies this willful blindness better than Patrick White himself.
Patrick White denies the Mecca orientation in public while admitting it in private
At the July 2007 Memorial Project meeting, a critic of the crescent design engaged Mr. White in private conversation, asking how he could be unconcerned about the Mecca orientation of the giant crescent. White’s reply was to suggest that this orientation cannot be seen as a tribute to Islam because the inexactness of it would be “disrespectful to Islam.” (The crescent points 1.8° north of Mecca, ±.1°.)
But this isn’t what White was telling the public. That same week, Patrick White told the press that all of the claims about Islamic symbolism had been thoroughly investigated and been found to be untrue and “preposterous.” In private, White was acknowledging the almost exact Mecca orientation of the crescent and making excuses for it, while issuing sweeping denials in public.
He is still doing the same thing. He KNOWS that the giant crescent points almost exactly to Mecca, yet claims that such “assumptions,” have been “repeatedly shown-to-be-false.” In fact, not a single factual claim about what is in the design has ever been rebutted. If the crescent did not point to Mecca, it would be trivially easy to demonstrate. This is a simple geometric claim. But all the Memorial Project has ever offered is unsupported denials, denials that they acknowledge in private to be FALSE.
Patrick White’s dishonest attack on Tom Burnett
The jury process is irrelevant. No one is criticizing it. The jurors bear no responsibility for hidden Islamic and terrorist-memorializing features that they knew nothing about when they chose the crescent design. If it were not for two ugly bits of misinformation, put forward by Patrick White in his effort to make the jury process the issue, there would be no reason to mention the jury process at all. Both of White’s falsehoods are aimed at discrediting Tom Burnett Sr.
1. In the Daily American article (half way down) White claims that Mr. Burnett: “gave his consent to support what the majority picked.”
Mr. Burnett was incensed in 2005 when the Memorial Project announced that the jurors had united behind the majority choice. Without ever consulting with Mr. Burnett, the Memorial Project wrote in their jury report that: “By consensus the Stage Two jury forwards this section of the Flight 93 memorial to the partner [Paul Murdoch] with the full and unqualified support of each juror.” Tom has been trying to correct the record ever since, and Patrick White OUGHT to know it.
2. White also claims that: “No one agreed then with Mr. Burnett’s preferred choice for a final design.”
“To the contrary” says Mr. Burnett, “the vote not unanimous; it was 9 to 6.” Five people were with Mr. Burnett in rejecting the crescent design. This on a jury made up of 8 design professionals and 7 family members. It could even be that a majority of family members opposed the Crescent of Embrace. Tom requested the vote tally in a formal letter to the Memorial Project which was never answered. Now Patrick White throws the vote tally in Tom’s face, and completely misrepresents it.
3. Bonus badness. White claims that: “Jurors gave all of Mr. Burnett’s concerns a complete airing.”
In fact, the design professionals on the jury tried to shut Mr. Burnett up. Tom Sokolowski, director of Pittsburgh’s Andy Warhol Museum called Mr. Burnett “asinine” just for noticing that the crescent is a traditional symbol of Islam. This overt hostility to Mr. Burnett’s concerns is not what most of us would call “a complete airing.”
So no, the jury process is not the issue here, but if it were, it couldn’t stand up to scrutiny either.
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