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September 14, 2005

Lawmaker: Rethink Flight 93 design

Somerset — A Colorado congressman wants the federal government to reconsider the crescent-shaped design for the Flight 93 National Memorial – even as family members voice their support of it.

In a letter sent Tuesday to National Park Service Director Fran Mainella, U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., said the crescent shape could invite controversy and criticism.

“Regardless of whether or not the invocation of a Muslim symbol by the memorial designer was intentional, it seems such a symbol is unsuitable for paying appropriate tribute to the heroes of Flight 93 or the ensuing American struggle against radical Islam that their last historic act and the ‘Let’s Roll’ effort has come to symbolize,” Tancredo wrote.

A copy of the letter was obtained by The Tribune-Democrat.

“I hope that you will reject this recommended design, and urge the committee to select a more appropriate design,” Tancredo wrote.

Called “Crescent of Embrace,” the design by Paul Murdoch Architects of Los Angeles features a mile-long, semicircular pathway of red maples surrounding the crash site.

Forty innocent passengers and crew, along with four Islamic hijackers, were killed when the plane plummeted into a reclaimed strip mine near Shanksville on Sept. 11, 2001. It was the only one of four hijacked jets that day that did not hit its intended target, believed to be the White House or Capitol.

Murdoch has said the design contained no religious symbolism, and the word crescent was used in a generic architectural sense to describe the bowl-shaped valley around the point of impact.

Earlier this summer, Tancredo angered Muslims by suggesting on a Florida radio program that the United States could “take out” Muslim holy sites if Islamic terrorists attacked us with nuclear bombs, The Associated Press reported.

“There are obvious concerns in having a major symbol of Islam as part of a 9/11 memorial,” Tancredo spokesman Will Adams said in a telephone interview from Washington.

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