At this point in time we want to deeply thank everyone who has and continues to support our search for a permanent home for Dark Elegy. A lot of effort and time has been spent by many, many supporters and friends to advance the goals for Dark Elegy. There is still more that we need to do together but let me first update you on our most recent efforts to locate Dark Elegy, a memorial to all victims of terrorism, on public land in the Washington, DC area under the federal law known as the Commemorative Works Act (CWA).
This federal law requires that Congress pass a law authorizing Dark Elegy as a "commemorative work" in order to be eligible to work with the National Park Service (NPS) or the General Services Administration (GSA) to find a mutually agreeable site from the currently approved list of locations set aside for memorials and museums in the Washington, DC area. Legislation introduced in the House by Congressman Bishop, for this purpose, triggered a public hearing under the CWA. It was at this hearing where we heard the opinions and judgments in opposition to Dark Elegy as a memorial to all victims of terrorism. In voting unanimously to oppose Dark Elegy as a commemorative work, commission members stated the following about Dark Elegy as a memorial to all victims of terrorism. "I see something more-simpler, something more as a benign gesture to what happened." (p. 61 of the NCMAC transcript, Mr. Turnbull). "...as compelling and impressive a proposal as has been made for the memorial in question, that we believe that, for the time being, that it relates to a very specific incident and should be treated as such rather than as a generic monument to victims of terrorism for all time." (p. 65 of the NCMAC transcript, Mr McGill).
In addition to the opinions expressed at this hearing, the National Park Service wrote to us previously, stating additional objections including, "because some of the poses of the various figures create an opportunity for irreverent behavior by visitors, there is serious concern about activities that would be disrespectful of your purpose" (Mr. Parsons, May 2007).
Simple, generic or irreverent are not at all the words that would describe the tragic outcome and the bottomless sadness faced by anyone who has ever faced the realities of living with the death of a loved one from a terrorist act. I reject the idea of continuing to work with a community so closed off and disrespectful of reality faced by so many others here in the U.S. and around the world.
The depth of torment expressed in Dark Elegy represents the painful truth that is both individual and universal to the human heart in the wake of any terrorist tragedy. That is a message we need to develop as we move forward. For all of you who continue on this journey to find a permanent home for Dark Elegy, your time invested in educating and recruiting support from other groups who have faced terrorism head-on will broaden and deepen the understanding that Dark Elegy represents a growing population around the globe and we need to do everything possible to stop terrorism and the painful aftermath felt both individually and universally in the human heart.
Our current goal is to find a meaningful permanent home for Dark Elegy; a site that is easily accessible to all. Thank you again to each and everyone who has given so generously of their time and their hearts to remember and carry forward the message represented by Dark Elegy. As you reach out to make connections with other groups, please use the information on the website to educate and inform them of our mutual goals and ongoing efforts.
firstname.lastname@example.org Dark Elegy, P.O. Box 50, Montauk, NY 11954