Flight 93 Memorial Project

"Crescent of Embrace," by Paul Murdoch Architects

This page is about the controversy surrounding the design of the Flight 93 Memorial Project.

As already pointed out at Real Clear Politics and Little Green Footballs, the winning design chosen to memorialize the heroes and victims of 9/11's Flight 93 is in the shape of a red crescent that looks -- either accidentally or intentionally -- remarkably like an Islamic crescent.

To prove this point, I have taken a high-resolution map of the winning design (a pdf of which can be downloaded at this site (alt-click or option-click to download the pdf file); and a prototypical rendition of the Islamic crescent moon (taken from the Tunisian flag, the original image of which can be found at this site).

Here is the winning memorial design (by Paul Murdoch Architects), entitled "Crescent of Embrace," rotated so that it points to the right:

And here is a typical Islamic crescent, taken directly from the Tunisian flag:

This is what it looks like when we lay the memorial design (made transparent) on top of the Islamic crescent:

As is plainly visible, they are almost identical.

An animated image that I made, comparing the two shapes, can be found at the top of this page. (Hat tip to Rayra for inspiring this Throbbing Memorial animated gif.)

Rayra has also created his own animated gif comparing the memorial and a Tunisian flag crescent: you can see it here.

"Hillbilly geek" has also created a very interesting animation with the landscape view of the memorial.

"Etaoin Shrdlu" has generated an azimuthal equidistant world map centered on the location of the Flight 93 Memorial which seems to indicate that the crescent is oriented toward Mecca.

If you feel this "Crescent of Embrace" design is inappropriate for a memorial to Flight 93, you can email your suggestions and concerns to

Paul Murdoch, the winning architect, at paul@paulmurdocharchitects.com;

or the National Park Service, which will make the final decision on the design, at their Flight 93 Web contact form;

or you can call the Superintendent of the Flight 93 National Memorial at (814) 443-4557, or fax him at (814) 443-2180.