It was the heroes of Flight 93 that stopped a plane from going into a fourth building on that horrific 9/11/01 morning that is forever etched in the minds of every American old enough to remember. It was said that the plane would have flown into the U.S. Capitol, had it not been for them.
There were forty victims on that flight. It is not a surprise that there are a variety of personalities and opinions within the many family members. With that, it just seems so odd that only half a dozen family members would be involved in the voting process that was said to have voted to use a design that has many attributes to an Islamic Mosque.
To listen to people who work for the North East National Park Service, one might actually believe that the voting was all-inclusive. But one would be wrong. The park service website shows the count to be half a dozen family members, along with seven other people. A person had to qualify in order to even be in the meetings. Being a family member was not enough. While the father of Tom Burnett Jr., Mr. Burnett, was allowed in the meetings, Mrs. Burnett was not. (Tom Burnett Jr. was one of the two men that headed up the forty Flight 93 heroes.)
The park service has a page designed to convince people of support for the memorial design, complete with a video of family members supporting it. Problem is that only three victims are represented in the video that lies about family members who are not on the video and are against the design. One person goes as far as to say that sources speaking against the design are “unrelated to the memorial partnership.” Mr. and Mrs. Tom Burnett Sr. are absolutely related, as are others. There were other family members who did not want the design. The park service speaks of everyone having agreed that the design that won the vote would ultimately get built. However, the Burnetts never dreamed that an Islamic-shaped design would be involved. And the voting was done in secret.
One man on the video said a person would have to be looking in order to find Islamic crescents in the design. That is odd, considering that the original name for the design was Crescent of Embrace. The design is now called The Circle of Embrace, while it still has the entire crescent design within it.
The design includes a “Tower of Voices” that is not only a morbid reminder of the forty victims’ voices calling out to loved ones on their cell phones, but is a perfect Islamic Minaret that would call Muslims to prayer. Actually, the entire design fits the requirements of a giant Islamic Mosque.
Mr. Burnett picked up on the Crescent Design of the tower right away. One of the family members that was in support of the design said she liked it because she saw it as ”reaching out.” Another parent got very upset at just the thought of her child’s murderers being thought of in this process and said that she did not want to reach out to those who murdered her child.
A couple years later, Mr. and Mrs. Burnett found out about a book that points out all of the Islamic references in the design and met the author, Alec Rawls. Along with other family members, many Americans have signed a petition to stop the design from being built.
The newest shame-buzz phrase has already been tossed into this arena – “conspiracy theorists.” Which of course is supposed to make all those who oppose the design pull back in shame. It might do so with weak people. But the Burnetts are not weak. One can truly see where their son got his strength.
Mrs. Burnett got involved for two main reasons: 1) to secure the crash site and 2) to bury the rest of the remains. Though the site has been secured, the rest of the remains have still not been buried. It is believed that there are still remains scattered across a seven-mile area. As Mrs. Burnett calls it, it is an “open burial ground.” Mrs. Burnett has also said that many people would like to keep it as it is now, simple and respectful to all of the victims. But it seems that some want to make a freak show out of the crash site, even going as far as stating in one report that they want people to “feel the spirits of the forty heroes in the whisper of the trees.” That is pagan and sick. The Lord’s children are in heaven, not floating around some trees.
It is interesting what great lengths the park service is going to in order to defend the Islamic- shaped memorial. They could simply put it in the shape of a four-sided design and get rid of that awful tower. Problem solved. However, when I spoke with the park’s person-of-choice to handle the media, I was told that the next person may want a rose bush changed and asked where do they stop. He said that they need to get this built and cannot have things backing it up. This was the same gentleman who told me that the Burnetts were the only people against the design. If he really believes that the Burnetts are the only people unhappy with it, and two simple changes would please them, then it stands to reason to do it, and there would be no people wanting to move a rose bush. Instead, the park service is going way overboard defending this design. And of course, the Burnetts are not the only family members. It is also said that not all the victims’ families even know of the design.
Teresa Heinz, the wife of Senator John Kerry and widow of the late U.S. Senator H. John Heinz III, funded the contest that was to find a design for the flight 93 memorial, via The Heinz Endowments.
The Heinz Endowments, which Teresa is the chairperson of, has also given money to the Tides Foundation, a foundation that gives money to the Islamic group CAIR. And although the Heinz Endowments claims any money it has donated to the Tides Foundation was for specific things, it does not say all of those specific things. The Heinz Endowments implies that it would not give money to an extremist agenda but never states if the Islamic group would be viewed as one.
In speaking with those related to the North East National Park Service and the Heinz Endowments, the Burnetts were made to sound like troublemakers, while I was being told that what I was seeing in the design was not really what I was seeing. And “conspiracy theorists” was tossed in, as well. I reminded one person that 9/11 was a “conspiracy” and that it is not a far cry to think that someone may be pushing for this to be, oh, I don’t know, a “healing with Islam” memorial. It is not as if we have not seen this angle before. Nonetheless, I came away from call after call, thinking, “Wow, they are going too far to defend this design.” And the ironic thing about this is that it was a privately-paid for contest and chosen design, according to the park service’s spokesperson, one that will be built with money that includes millions of taxpayer dollars. And there is even a bigger twist on this. The notes that were taken by recorders in the contest meetings were all destroyed after reports were written. I was told that they could do this due to the meetings being private and the contest being paid for with private funds, the funds that Teresa Heinz’s organization provided.
So, why is a privately-paid for contest resulting in a design that is so controversial, being paid for in any part by American citizens? Why is the national park service going along with it? Where is the proof that the meetings even went the way that the reports said they went? With all of the recorded notes destroyed and a secret voting, how do we really know the true outcome of those meetings? Where’s the proof?
The park is asking for donations for the remainder of the cost to build the memorial. I wonder how many people who donate know about the controversial design. It is not as if it would remain a secret once the huge design is built, if not stopped.
As for the Burnetts, they have said that they are willing to simply have their son’s name removed from the memorial. The park service has declined even that request. That should make anyone of a reasonable mind see who the real troublemakers are.
Click Here to see in detail what exactly all of the controversy is about.
Debra J.M. Smith
Special thanks to: Mr. and Mrs. Burnett – Parents of Tom Burnett Jr.
Alec Ralws – Author of Crescent of Betrayal
Diane Gramley - From American Family Association of Pennsylvania
Photo credit: deltaMike (Creative Commons)
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