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Memorial: Honor What the Firefighters Did

January 23, 2002

Re "Airbrushing History With Divisiveness," Commentary, Jan. 18: Sept. 11 was an emotional, in-your-face event, so I understand why lots of people have opinions about the statue to the firefighters.

To Jonathan Turley I would say that a memorial's intent can symbolize an event, people or an idea. In this case, it memorializes all the firefighters who died and their courage and love of country and countrymen. We miss the broader point when we just want a memorial to three guys who raised a flag. They will always have that moment in their lives captured in a photograph, but the sculpture was created to represent all who gave their lives.

Libby Breen

Altadena

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I must say it pains me as an American citizen to be witness to the mind-numbing effects political correctness has had on our society. The three firemen who took it upon themselves to valiantly raise this country's symbol of freedom were, I'm sure, not concerned that they all happened to be white but rather that they were showing bravery and competence in a time of confusion and anguish. To alter the race of these men is to take away historical accuracy and prove, once again, that in today's world, we are more concerned with who did what and what color they were than why they did it.

The men represented in the Iwo Jima memorial were not "racially altered" and what they did means more than who they were. That does not dismiss the fact that there were plenty of soldiers of different races that served in the war. Just as there were firemen and policemen of different races serving at the World Trade Center. Why should it matter that the three firemen were white? I have that picture in a window of my house and every time someone passes by I truly hope they are not thinking, "I wish that scene was more diverse," but remembering what happened that day, how it changed our lives forever and why those men did what they did.

Noelle Franzen

Irvine

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Have we become so obsessively concerned with proving how inclusive and tolerant we are that we are willing to forgo factual accuracy? The decision to transform three white firefighters raising a flag at the World Trade Center into a bronze expression of balanced diversity is odd in the extreme. Why stop there? Are there no female firefighters in New York City? Are there no Asian firefighters?

The now-famous photo depicted an actual event. It tells one story of real people. One of thousands of tragic, touching and moving vignettes that we witnessed and vowed to never forget. They should be allowed to stand as recorded. The grim reality of that photo needs no touch-up.

Jeanne Willard

Palos Verdes Estates

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