As though there wasn’t enough stress caused by the Sept. 11 attacks, now critics with nothing else to do than argue are attacking a proposed statue based on the now-famous photograph of three white firefighters raising a flag at the World Trade Center site. This is definitely not the only memorial that will be built, and it isn’t meant to represent the entire event, but a specific group of people who decided among themselves how they wanted to represent their ordeal.
The controversial proposed statue is planned to be a 19-foot bronze sculpture of one white, one black and one Hispanic man raising the flag. It will be placed in front of the Fire Department of New York’s Brooklyn headquarters and is being partly funded by the Fire Department. Because the Fire Department is being represented and placing the statue in front of its headquarters, it should be able to choose how to represent the tragedy. It chose a symbolic interpretation instead of a literal and historical one.
Detractors are angry that it isn’t accurate, and some are saying it is political correctness gone awry. But why praise only three people? Thousands of firefighters contributed to the efforts, and thousands of multicultural people were involved in the incident.
The Fire Department wanted to show the involvement of all people, not just the three men in the photo. If anything, detractors should be upset that the sculpture is too much like the flag-raising at Iwo Jima. If there must be an argument, why not argue on the basis of lack of creativity?
Undoubtedly there will be more and larger memorials planned and erected in the future. Such petty criticism only soils a potentially good deed and honorable attempt to mark the importance and significance of the tragedy. Instead of criticizing the memorials, people should be asking how they can help and show the better side of the American spirit.