Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Principled Idiocy

The Washington Post has the story here:
For emotional wallop, there are few rivals to the windswept, grassy field outside of Shanksville, Pa., where United Airlines Flight 93 crashed on Sept. 11, 2001.

But for three years, that field has made do with a makeshift monument while one member of Congress, Rep. Charles H. Taylor (R-N.C.), has blocked a $10 million request to buy the land for a permanent memorial to the 40 passengers and crew members who overpowered hijackers bent on crashing their jet into the Capitol or the White House.

The families of the Flight 93 passengers and crew will be in Washington tomorrow, this time intent on challenging the chairman of the House Interior Appropriations subcommittee, who oversees funding for federal acquisition of property. With a major motion picture on the doomed flight premiering tonight, a showdown on the issue is the last clash that embattled Republicans want.

"We need to build a memorial for these people," said Rep. William Shuster (R-Pa.), whose district includes Shanksville. "These 40 people were the first counterattack of the war on terror, and they were victorious. We owe them a great debt of gratitude."

For Taylor, a large landowner in the mountains of western Carolina, the issue comes down to principle: The federal government is already the largest landowner in the country, and he believes that no additional tax dollars should go to more land buying for this or any other memorial. Beyond that, the families have committed to raising half the $60 million needed to build the memorial but so far have raised $7.5 million. Taylor is concerned that the federal government will be left holding the bag.

Neither Taylor nor his press secretary returned phone calls and e-mails yesterday. His chief of staff, Sean Dalton, would not comment.

GOP aides familiar with the issue said Taylor's resolute stance made sense shortly after passage in 2002 of an act authorizing the memorial. The original designs were expansive, the acreage perhaps excessive, and there were real questions about how many tourists would visit the remote site in Somerset County. Taylor infuriated some Flight 93 family members by suggesting a more fitting tribute would be a scholarship fund.

"We believe the land speaks to anyone who goes there and sees the site," said Patrick White, whose cousin Louis Joseph Nacke II died on Flight 93. "It is very moving."
There's nobility in standing for one's principles. Then, there's idiocy.

Has the distinguished congressman from North Carolina ever heard of the saying, "the exception to the rule"?

If this hallowed ground, on which the passengers and crew of United Flight 93 sacrificed their lives combatting the genicidists of 9/11, doesn't qualify as a suitable expenditure of the Federal Government for a memorial, what does?

Our government wastes so much of our money on ridiculous and frivolous pursuits. This is not one of them. Congressman Taylor needs to get a grip, buy a clue and stop obstructing the memorial. The families of the loved ones the brave people of United 93 left behind--and the rest of a grateful nation--deserve no less!