I thought you all might want to see this!
Taylor picked the right fight — with the wrong opponent
published April 30, 2006 12:15 am
One point Rep. Charles Taylor has made for his opposition to a White House request for $5 million for the nearly 1,700-acres site in remote western Pennsylvania where United Flight 93 crashed into the ground deserves to be noted.
Taylor, as chairman of the Appropriations subcommittee that oversees the Interior Department, has blocked millions in funding for the proposed memorial for the last two years and has expressed opposition to funding it when it comes up again before his committee May 3.
Taylor says he doesn’t oppose the memorial, but he says he’s concerned about the scope of the project.
He says the memorial committee has submitted a plan could cost a total of $75 million to $100 million.
“What we would not want to do is embarrass the country or the families of those aboard Flight 93 with a memorial that is only partially funded, in either construction or long-term maintenance costs,” Taylor said.
On that point, the congressman could not be more correct.
But that’s hardly a reason to hold up the money to purchase the land.
And it’s a surprisingly frugal attitude, coming from a congressman who favors building the North Shore Road at a cost of $590 million, despite its limited usefulness and potential for damaging the environment of America’s most visited National Park.
The memorial is estimated to cost about $58 million, the Washington Post reported. Thirty million dollars of that is to be raised through private donations. About $7.5 million in private funding has been raised since a campaign started last year, according to a memorial spokeswoman.
The passengers on United Flight 93 offered America’s raised fist of defiance against the horror of terrorism that claimed so many lives, including their own, on Sept. 11, 2001. Theirs was the story that inspired us and gave us courage in the bleak days that followed.
If Osama bin Laden thought Americans had become soft and weak, the bravery of the passengers on United Flight 93 demonstrated how mistaken he was.
“He might have been wise to have learned more about the historical willingness of Americans to die for liberty,” Karen Breslau, Eleanor Clift and Evan Thomas wrote in a Newsweek story about what happened on the plane.
“… America’s latest war for freedom did not begin with a speech by George W. Bush or a cruise-missile attack on a terrorist-training camp in Afghanistan,’’ they wrote.
“It began with a group of citizen soldiers on Flight 93 who rose up, like their forefathers, to defy tyranny. And when they came storming down the aisle, it wasn’t the Americans who were afraid. It was the terrorists.”
It seems likely the hijackers had planned to fly United Flight 93 into the White House or the United States Capitol, but they were foiled when crew members and passengers fought back.
These are true American heroes who had no time to prepare for the ordeal they faced. But they rose to the occasion, saving the lives of others and preventing the destruction of one of the great architectural symbols of our nation.
We owe it to them to memorialize their sacrifice and we owe it to ourselves to create a place where we, and future generations, can draw inspiration from their courage.
The United States government wastes an inordinate amount of money in a variety of ways – like building bridges and roads to nowhere. It’s incomprehensible that Congressman Taylor would not support funding for this most worthy of projects.