'We called it a 'crescent' because it was a curving land form. We called it 'Crescent of Embrace' because of the symbolic gesturing of embracing this place,' Murdoch said. 'There's no desire to make this a divisive memorial.'
The design has become a lightning rod on Web blogs since a Somerset County street preacher said last week he intends to fight the concept, claiming the Islamic symbolism.
Despite the criticism, planners have no intention of discarding the design and starting over, said design consultant Helene Fried, who along with Portland, Ore., architect Don Stastny served in a similar capacity for the Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial.
'Not at all,' Fried said. 'I think the position of the design team and partners is solid.
'The issues raised by some people are being taken seriously. This is a design concept. This is not the finished design.'
A sampling of some of the countless Internet blogs:
' 'Given the context of the Flight 93 event, this so-called memorial is so inappropriate. It would be like building a WWII monument in the shape of a swastika or red dot.'
' 'Just when you think you've seen the worst the American right is capable of ... now they're claiming that the Flight 93 'Crescent of Embrace' memorial looks just like the crescent moon, hence its 'honoring the terrorists.'
'This is another fine example of how insipid, immature, idiotic and petty the American right is today.'
' 'Someone should have seen it and said something, like, 'Hey guys, do you think having this memorial in the shape of something that represents the murderous bastards that perpetrated the crime may be seen as insensitive?' '
' A columnist for the Canada Free Press added, 'Who could believe that the courageous passengers who refused to allow their plane to be plowed into a Washington, D.C., target would have their memory enshrined by the main symbol of Islam?'