The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

September 15, 2005

Flight 93 design provokes uproar

Designer says he's willing to change name


Somerset —

While controversy swirls, families of Flight 93 victims overwhelmingly support the design and are 'insulted' by suggestions it contains Islamic symbolism.

'The families are upset. The architect is upset,' Hanley said. 'The architect wants to make sure the legacy he leaves is not overshadowed by a black cloud.

'I think it's unfortunate people assumed the crescent was done on purpose and has hidden meaning. Paul Murdoch intended this crescent to be one of embracing the families in comfort.'

The design still can be refined but not completely overhauled, said Jeff Reinbold, the park service's Flight 93 project manager.

'The designer will look at all recommendations, and he will go back and make refinements,' Reinbold said. 'It won't come back as a square, but it will progress.'

On Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., said in a letter to National Park Service Director Fran Mainella that the design should be changed to avoid controversy and criticism.

Will Adams, spokesman for Tancredo, said Wednesday that the congressman would be happy with the changes only if the crescent shape is removed.

Gordon Felt of Remsen, N.Y., whose brother Edward Felt was killed on Flight 93, said he called Tancredo's office and said Tancredo should have held off on his criticism.

'I wish he would come out to Somerset and see the topography,' Felt said.

Felt said it is natural for the design to evolve.

'I think the topography of the land would really dictate there would be some kind of arc,' Felt said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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