This is an article that I wrote for my own "frustration release." But, after writing it, I figured what better place to share it than with others who have the same feelings?!
Is this New York City … or Iwo Jima?
The photo. Proud, strong men raising the American flag during a moment of confusion and turmoil. It was shown all over the world, and tugged at some hearts more so than others. Yet, as time goes on, it becomes adjusted. Tweaked. Made different from the original to appease an even wider audience. Is this correct? Is this embracing the past or recreating it? Is this a photo of Marines at Iwo Jima, or firefighters in New York City?
At the present time, FDNY (Fire Department of New York) is petitioning to have a brand new statue, a tribute to all the fallen firefighters of the September 11, attacks, NOT displayed in front of their headquarters. If this confuses you as to why they would not want to honor these fine men and women, please read on. I am about to explain and share my opinion of the whole argument.
Before you look at what is in the media right now, take a look back at the original photo. It was an image that touched the hearts of so many. A picture that was not staged in any way, shape or form. A view into the minds of America, saying that nobody is going to take our Freedom or strength away from us, regardless of what they do. It was simply three firefighters who took a moment of their time to raise the American flag. They improvised for a flagpole. They had no choice, just look at their background. Twisted steel. Crumpled buildings. Nevertheless, they raised that flag. Not for notoriety, or glory, nor anything self-serving. They raised it out of pure Pride. In fact, these three men have turned down numerous offers to be interviewed, worldwide, because they do not feel that they deserve the recognition. They are humble, to say the very least. Why all the dissention?
Well, it really isn’t over that so much as over a statue to be made from that picture. It has been proposed that this monument be erected and placed in front of the FDNY headquarters, to represent all the firefighters lost on that tragic day in September. No problem, everything still sounds kosher. Here is where the plot thickens. Pathetic as it is, in times such as these, political correctness has taken over. The photograph depicts three Caucasian firefighters. Not because of any other reason than they were simply the ones that were there. But, this statue, which is 19-feet high and made of bronze, seems to be nothing more than an attempt to rewrite history. It no longer reflects the men of the photo. It was not even designed from the picture itself, but rather recreated in a studio with professional models – not firefighters. If that were not bad enough, it no longer has the faces of the three Caucasian men. Rather, it has the faces of a Caucasian, African-American, and Hispanic men. Not what was in the picture taken by Thomas E. Franklin. This is an attempt to please everyone, which we all know is completely impossible, by taking something magnificent that happened “on a whim” and improving upon it.
Well, let me say for the record that when something happens such as this, that shows nothing but pure, unaltered American spirit, you don’t adjust it to appease the masses. In my humbled opinion, the masses that are involved here are firefighters. Pure and simple. Not the Caucasians. Not the Hispanics. Not the African-Americans. Just firefighters. Just some of the bravest men and women to unselfishly face danger. (and by the way…why isn’t one of the faces that of a female?!) There is nothing in this picture to me that states they are only honoring the “white” firefighters who fell that day. Making a statue from this picture seems like a genuine and honest attempt at a memorial. But if it is left as-is. Taking a picture, and adjusting it to make it “politically correct” is completely absurd. At least it is to me. I know that there are others out there who support the statue the way that it stands right now. That is their right. This is mine. And I don’t like it. If they feel that there is an honor due, a memorial of some sort, than by all means go for it. Place a statue there. Maybe design something that can encompass the names of all the fallen firefighters. But, either leave the picture the way it stands now, or be original and create something new. A true and pure dedication to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice on that dreaded day.
In all honesty, even to make a statue of these men raising the flag, barren of the backdrop of destruction, leaves something missing. They weren’t just raising a flag; they were raising the American flag in the midst of the worst terrorist attack on United States soil. And they were standing in the middle of it, with mere seconds to spare before a building was to collapse.
This is a touchy subject, to say the least. There are going to be pros and cons on every angle of it. That is good. Debate is always good, so long as the point is not lost in the process. What they are looking for here is a proper way to honor the firefighters who lost their lives, without erasing and rewriting something that has already been. I will also admit that I am rather biased on this topic. My own father, although not in New York, is a volunteer firefighter in southwestern Pennsylvania. He didn’t go to the World Trade Center, nor did he help out at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. But he did spend countless hours at the crash scene of the third plane, United Airlines flight 93. I love my father dearly, and I also hold a sacred place in my heart for all firefighters. When I see one, I don’t see an ethnicity or a skin color. I see a brave, loving soul. Someone who would do anything for anyone, regardless of his or her own outcome.
Think about it: Whether viewing photos in the newspaper or watching the sights unravel on television, what was the one thing that started to stand out? Due to all the dirt, and the dust, and the ash that was hanging in the air that day, every single person – firefighter, policeman, EMT, volunteer, etc. – looked exactly the same. There were no differences that day. So, why should things be changed to reflect a body of diversity, when our nation is built on the spirit of being one? Or should I say ‘E Pluribus Unum’?
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Thread: My stand on photo vs. statue...
01-16-2002, 07:10 PM #1
- Join Date
- Jan 2002
- Upstate New York
My stand on photo vs. statue...
01-16-2002, 11:54 PM #2
- Join Date
- Sep 2001
01-17-2002, 12:05 AM #3
- Join Date
- Mar 2001
- Osceola Mills,PA. USA
Bravo Well said!!
01-17-2002, 01:32 AM #4
01-17-2002, 03:15 AM #5
Very well written. Please don't stop sharing your common sense ideas.BE SAFE
Before Everything, Stop And First Evaluate
01-17-2002, 03:23 AM #6
- Join Date
- Jun 2001
- new franken, WI USA
firefighter's find 'em hot and leave 'em wet!
01-17-2002, 06:51 PM #7
Your obviously in the right ball-park, otherwise why would some 6,000 petitions have been signed, sealed and delivered , in just two days?"All gave some...Some gave all!"
9/11/01 Lest we forget!
01-17-2002, 07:03 PM #8
- Join Date
- Dec 1999
- West Warren,MA
Bravo FireDaughter! Very eloquent! I am crying as I read your post. I hope the "powers that be" read this too, and know how the rest of us feel about the changes in the memorial will affect us as a whole.
01-17-2002, 07:15 PM #9
Nice Job makes sense to meIACOJ Membership 2002
The beatings will continue until the morale improves
01-22-2002, 10:23 AM #10
Doesn't the Stars and Stripes of that American Flag represent ALL Americans?
Those three guys in the photo weren't looking for a photo op. In the midst of a terrible tragedy they did something very patriotic.
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