This iconic picture of firefighters raising the stars and stripes in the rubble of Ground Zero was nearly excluded from the 9/11 Memorial Museum – because it was “rah-rah” American, a new book says.
Michael Shulan, the museum’s creative director, was among staffers who considered the Tom Franklin photograph too kitschy and “rah-rah America,” according to “Battle for Ground Zero” (St. Martin’s Press) by Elizabeth Greenspan, out next month.
“I really believe that the way America will look best, the way we can really do best, is to not be Americans so vigilantly and so vehemently,” Shulan said.
Shulan had worked on a popular post-9/11 photography exhibit called “Here is New York” in Soho when he was hired by Alice Greenwald, director of the museum, for his “unique approach.”
Eventually, chief curator Jan Ramirez proposed a compromise, Greenspan writes. The Franklin shot was minimized in favor of three different photos via three different angles of the flag-raising scene.
“Several images undercut the myth of ‘one iconic moment,’ Ramirez said, and suggest instead an event from multiple points of view, like the attacks more broadly,” the book says.
“Shulan didn’t like three photographs more than he liked one, but he went along with it.”
Shulan told The Post he didn’t know that the way Greenspan described the discussion about the photographs “is the way that I would have.”
“My concern, as it always was, is that we not reduce [9/11] down to something that was too simple, and in its simplicity would actually distort the complexity of the event, the meaning of the event,” he said.
Shulan was living in Soho on Sept. 11, 2001. He helped organize the “Here is New York” exhibit shortly after the attack, and it grew to include thousands of photographs taken by professionals and ordinary New Yorkers. The collection was later donated to the New-York Historical Society.
The photograph wasn’t the only item officials and family members argued over. Early on, it was decided that no human remains or photos of body parts be included in the museum. Dust from the collapse of the Towers will be on display, “but only dust which has been tested and determined not to contain remains,” Greenspan writes.
However, it was nearly impossible to determine if one artifact – called “the composite” – followed that rule. Three feet tall and 15 tons, the composite contains about four or five building stories compressed by pressure and heat into one solid block, with bits of paper and the edges of filing cabinets poking out of the surface.
The museum tested the outside of the composite and found it negative for DNA. But they couldn’t test inside it without the risk of destroying it. Eventually, despite the uncertainty and over the objections of some 9/11 family members, the piece was included.
An atheist activist organization wants a proposed Ohio statehouse Holocaust memorial to remove the Star of David symbol, which, the group claims, is an “exclusionary” religious symbol.
According to The Columbus Dispatch, the non-profit Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), known for its activism concerning church-state separation, claimed that the inclusion of the Judaic symbol is a breach of the U.S. Constitution.
In a June 14 letter to Richard H. Finan, chairman of the Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board, two FFRF officials said they have no objections to a Holocaust memorial at the statehouse, but claimed that the cut-out version of the six-pointed Star of David would be a violation of the separation of church and state as provided for in the Constitution.
“Permitting one permanent sectarian and exclusionary religious symbol… would create the legal precedent, for instance, to place an equally large or larger permanent Latin cross on Capitol grounds,” wrote Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-presidents of the Madison, Wisconsin group. Gaylor is the daughter of Anne Nicol Gaylor, author of Abortion Is A Blessing. Barker said that the Holocaust memorial, as currently proposed, would amount to a “constitutionally problematic endorsement of religion.”
The FFRF officials said the memorial excludes five million non-Jews killed in the Holocaust, including Roma Gypsies, homosexuals, the disabled, and others.
“The monument could resemble numerous powerful war memorials across the U.S. which do not use any sectarian images, including the national World War II Memorial, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the Korean War Veterans Memorial,” the FFRF officials wrote. “Each is secular in nature and without religious reference, which offends no one and is respected by all.”
Those who support the design of architect Daniel Libeskind argue that the statehouse memorial represents all victims of the World War II Holocaust, as well as the Ohioans who participated in the liberation of the Nazi death camps.
In March 2012, the FFRF also placed an anti-Catholic ad that was published by the New York Times. The ad, which criticized the Church’s position against ObamaCare’s HHS mandate, stated, “It’s time to quit the Roman Catholic Church. Will it be reproductive freedom, or back to the Dark Ages?”
The ad accused the Catholic Church of promoting “acute misery, poverty, needless suffering, unwanted pregnancies, overpopulation, social evils and deaths.”
In an appeal to Catholic women, the ad asked, “Apparently, you’re like the battered woman who, after being beaten down every Sunday, feels she has no place else to go.”
In response to the publication of the FFRF ad by the New York Times, Pam Geller of Atlas Shrugs submitted an ad along the same lines to the Times entitled, “It’s Time To Quit Islam.” The Times, however, rejected Geller’s ad because “the fallout from running this ad now could put U.S. troops and/or civilians in the [Afghan] region in danger.”
A final vote on the Holocaust memorial design will be held on Thursday morning at the Ohio statehouse.
Huge lines of people began forming outside Cowboys Stadium on Monday to attend a memorial service for Chris Kyle, the former Navy SEAL sniper who was slain last week near Glen Rose.
At about 11:30 a.m., parking lots outside of the stadium were filling up quickly for the 1 p.m. service at the 80,000-seat stadium.
The crowd entered slowly into the stadium with the hymn Mansions of the Lord playing on the P.A. system and images of Chris Kyle on the jumbo screen.
No politicians were expected to speak at the service, however, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin posted on her Facebook that she and her husband, Todd, were attending the memorial. “I find it sad to see that flags aren’t flying at half staff for this American hero,” Palin wrote on the page.
Kyle, co-author of the book American Sniper, will be buried in the Texas State Cemetery in Austin on Tuesday. The Patriot Guard Riders have announced that they will escort the hearse from Arlington to Austin.
Free parking was available in Lots 1, 2 and 10, nearest to East Randol Mill Road and North Collins Street. People will enter the stadium at Gates A and K on the north side.
“In honor of the reverence this memorial service deserves, Chris Kyle’s family has asked that the general public not take photographs or record video during the ceremony,” police spokeswoman Tiara Richard said. “No cameras will be allowed inside.”
Also, no bags, purses or substantial handheld items will be allowed, Richard said.
Nancy Clayton, office manager of Midlothian Funeral Home, which is handling arrangements, said Kyle’s family will have a private funeral separate from the public memorial service.
Kyle, 38, and friend Chad Littlefield, 35, both of Midlothian, were shot to death Saturday at the Rough Creek Lodge near Glen Rose.