For those of you in or near Somerset, Pennsylvania

I just received this press release:

Alec Rawls and Tom Burnett Sr. (father of Flight 93 hero Tom Burnett Jr.) are traveling to Somerset PA to condemn the crescent/broken-circle memorial at the Memorial Project’s public meeting this Saturday, August 2nd. The meeting will run from 10-am to 1pm at the Somerset County Courthouse.

Immediately after the meeting Mr. Burnett and Mr. Rawls will host a press conference in the Master’s Room at the Somerset County Courthouse, next door to the public meeting room (Courtroom 1). Also on the press conference panel will be Diane Gramley, President of the American Family Association of Pennsylvania, and the Reverend Ron McRae of Johnstown.

In addition to our own statements, Mr. Burnett will read a statement from Congressman John Kline (R-MN), and Alec Rawls will present statements from Rich Davis, founder of the Chester County Victory Movement, and from Khalim Massoud, President of Muslims Against Sharia Law.

After the press conference, Mr. Burnett and his supporters will host a rally to stop the re-hijacking of Flight 93. Members of our informal Western Pennsylvania Compatriots group (who spoke out at the last public meeting) will be in attendance, and some out of town folks will be coming as well.

To inform and invite the local populace, a half-page full-color ad will be running in tomorrow’s edition of the Somerset Daily American. (Ad copy here.) It explains how the original Crescent of Embrace design remains completely intact in the Circle of Embrace redesign, which is explicitly described by the Park Service itself as a “broken” circle. That is exactly how architect Paul Murdoch described his original Crescent design.

All the redesign does is include an extra arc of trees that explicitly represents a broken off part of the circle. The unbroken part of the circle (the crescent), remains exactly as it was. It is still a giant Islamic shaped crescent, still pointing to Mecca , as your colleague Kirk Swauger verified a year ago:

Rawls maintains that the midpoint between the tips of the crescent points almost precisely toward “qibla,” the direction to Mecca, which Muslims are supposed to face for prayer.

His claims seem to be backed up by coordinates for the direction of qibla from Somerset that can be found on When superimposed over the crescent in the memorial design, the midpoint points over the Arctic Circle, through Europe toward Mecca.

Except for Kirk’s verification of the Mecca orientation of the crescent (which was not picked up by any other news organization), reporters have not been bothering to check the facts. When our claim that there are to be 44 inscribed translucent blocks emplaced along the flight path was reported a few months ago, Gordon Felt, President of Families of Flight 93 was quoted denying it, but despite this clear conflict of factual claims, no reporter bothered to simply open up the design drawings and count.

As will be detailed at our press conference, several of our supporters have gone to the trouble of going back to the source documents and fact-checking our basic claims about what is in the design. If reporters want to do the same, I have posted a set of fact checking guides, with links to source documents, at

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  • Ymarsakar

    Reporters have no interests in helping their enemies. Even if they did, their editors and publishers will crack down and demote that reporter if he or she even dared to contradict dogma with “facts”.

  • Earl

    I cannot count all the ways that this is disgusting, infuriating, and totally unjust.

    For pity sake, if the designers didn’t have in mind what they are accused of, the moment it was pointed out they would have said “Oooooops!” and changed the design into something that wouldn’t reopen the wounds inflicted that day.

    It’s obvious that they’re bound and determined to stick their finger in our eye over this, and we need to do everything possible to see to it that they don’t get away with it.


  • suek

    I think this is one of the first reports I saw on it. It’s pretty complete, and the comments are good. Floppin’ Aces also has a number of articles, and has participated in blogbursts (which I’ve never exactly figured out)

  • BrianE

    I saw this story some time ago, and it just doesn’t make any sense.
    We have to assume it is just coincidence, and the similarities to the Islamic crescent never crossed the architect’s mind.
    And the 44 translucent blocks (43+1) is just another coincidence.
    But even given that, why didn’t the architect change the shape. Instead of a crescent, make it a broken circle. Make it 40 translucent blocks. This certainly isn’t the most complex project he’s ever worked on (I hope it isn’t anyway.)
    I remember the controversy of the Vietnam War Memorial Wall, but it is an emotionally powerful symbol of the war, and you can’t walk along it without being moved. At the time, though, it was the subject of tremendous criticism.

  • suek

    >>it just doesn’t make any sense.>>

    How so? Please explain…

    I followed this story after it came out on Malkin’s blog, and there is clear indication that the designer has muslim links. I’m sorry I can’t give you specifics anymore – it’s been three years since this started, and some of the connections were made by people commenting, rather than the original blog report.

    There’s been more recent stuff – clearly indicating that in spite of a requirement to work with the lay of the land, the designer has forced the design…much rework of the land will be necessary to effect the design. What I don’t understand is why there has been such resistence to the objections…

    The Vietnam Wall objections were based on “it’s ugly”, “it’s inadequate”, “it’s too plain(simple, whatever”. The objections to the Flight 93 memorial is that it memoralizes the perpetrators – in the eyes of the enemy, even if we westerners are not particularly sensitive to it. It seems unbelievable to me that if even a possibility of such a thing exists we’d continue the design.

  • BrianE

    What I meant by doesn’t make sense is it strains credulity that an architect would propose something like this, and it would be approved by a selection committee if, in fact, there is a hint of islamic symbolism involved. Who was on the selection committee?
    Of course, it should have been altered when the objections were first raised. Is this an example of bureacracy at work or more sinister?

  • BrianE

    OR, are we seeing the ultimate effects of PC.

  • suek

    >>and it would be approved by a selection committee if, in fact, there is a hint of islamic symbolism involved.>>

    The problem is – at least possibly – that the committee, having no deep awareness of islam, was simply unaware of any symbolism. Would you have thought of it without having it pointed out? I suspect that once the decision was made, they didn’t want to reconsider – or there may be other problems that arise if the decision is changed. I don’t know. Your possiblity of ultimate effects of PC is also realistic, I think. You wouldn’t think that PC could come into play in such a circumstance, would you! Unbelievable in one sense, but definitely a possiblity in my opinion.