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More Trouble on the Flight 93 Memorial Front


A little while back, we reported on the trouble in finalizing the plans for the design of the Flight 93 memorial in Pennsylvania because there was a group opposed to it looking too similar to a crescent, an important symbol in the Islamic religion. Now the committee has run into yet another hurdle as Lisa Austin and Madis Pihlak, two college professors, have started a fight, claiming that the selected design, by Paul Murdoch, has stolen a whole slew of ideas from the designs they submitted. And it sounds like they may have a point, as there are ten key elements that they came up with that are also in Murdoch’s plans. What’s more, it isn’t just small, obvious stuff, like, “We both thought of using plaques!” but, instead, somehow items like a ninety-three foot tall tower of wind chimes both made it onto their plans. Here’s what they have to say:

“I don’t want to take this to court,” Austin said. “This is too painful. I don’t want to delay anything. What we really, really want is the best possible memorial…All we’ve asked for is attribution. Our design was clearly incorporated into Murdoch’s design.”

Now, a congressman from Erie is intervening on their behalf. On July 14, U.S. Rep. Phil English wrote to the director of the National Park Service and Flight 93 officials, asking them to “appropriately acknowledge” Austin’s and Pihlak’s apparent contributions to the design.

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