Questions about the Design
Briefing Papers, Reports, and Interviews
Frequently Asked Questions Concerning the Design
Who are the partners for the Flight 93 National Memorial that were involved in the memorial design process?
Four organizations partnered to organize and implement the process for choosing a memorial design.
How was the design selected for the Flight 93 National Memorial?
The design was selected through a deliberate, open, and transparent public process.Over 1000 design entries were received from design professionals, amateurs, and ordinary people from 48 states and 27 countries. The designs were exhibited and available for public comment in Somerset, Pennsylvania and were posted on the Flight 93 Memorial Project website (website is no longer in use.)
The selection process:
What is the shape of the memorial?
The natural topography of the area is a bowl with higher elevations to the north and west so the landform provides the circle shape of the memorial; the memorial rests and follows the contours of the circle.
Is this circle "broken" at all?
The "circle of embrace" points your attention down to the crash site which is the final resting place of the passengers and crew. The trees surrounding this "circle of embrace" are missing in two places; first, where the flight path of the plane went overhead (which is the location of the planned memorial overlook and visitor center), and second, where the plane crashed at the crash site (depicted by a ceremonial gate and pathway into the crash site). In summary, the memorial is shaped in a circular fashion, and the circle is symbolically "broken" or missing trees in two places, depicting the flight path of the plane, and the crash site, in honor and remembrance of the passengers and crew of Flight 93.
Where does the memorial focus attention?
Attention is focused on the crash site, which is the final resting place of the passengers and crew.
Is there Islamic religious symbolism incorporated into the design of the Flight 93 National Memorial?
No. This memorial solely honors the actions of the 40 passengers and crew, who thwarted the terrorists.
How do you know?
The intent of the architect was to honor the passengers and crew. When questions were raised about the design, they were taken very seriously. The National Park Service and the Flight 93 partner organizations investigated the issues and consulted with the Board of Directors of the Families of Flight 93, university and religious scholars, all of whom concluded that the memorial design does not imply or depict religious iconography.
What do the Families of Flight 93 have to say about the design of the memorial?
They support it. In a November 9, 2007 letter to Congressman Tancredo they wrote, "The Families of Flight 93 overwhelmingly support the design and the design process, and reaffirmed that support by a unanimous vote of the Board of Directors as recently as two months ago."
What do the Families of Flight 93 have to say about the perceived Islamic symbolism in the memorial?
The Families of Flight 93 sent this letter to Congressman Tom Tancredo on November 9, 2007, in response to his criticism of the design. Additionally, the President of the Families of Flight 93, representing the Board of Directors, made this statement on May 2, 2008 in full support of the memorial.