Wednesday, December 31, 2008

9/11 Victims Try to Abuse Power of Federal Government

It has been more than seven years since 20-year-old Deora Bodley and 39 other passengers and crew died in the fiery crash of United Airlines Flight 93, their hijacked plane disintegrating in a grove of hemlock trees outside Shanksville, Pa.

Most of the remains from the tragedy on Sept. 11, 2001, were never recovered, making the bowl-shaped crash site in the western Pennsylvania countryside an unofficial cemetery and, for surviving relatives, sacred ground.

But efforts to buy property for a national Flight 93 memorial have bogged down in federal red tape and a protracted land dispute, angering family members and risking plans to hold a dedication ceremony on the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. The delays have prompted an advocacy group, Families of Flight 93, to ask President Bush to personally intervene during his final weeks in office to allow the federal government to seize the land needed for the memorial and to allocate part of the money for the project.

I can't begin to describe the disgust I feel at the families of these victims.  Maybe I'd feel differently if I personally had someone die in that crash.  

It seems to me, that asking the Federal Government to seize the property of a private citizen of this great country does a great dishonor to the victims who died in the plane crash.  Granted, they did not make a choice to fight in the War on Terror.  They were "chosen" by the cowards who hijacked the plane.  But, nevertheless, they died for America in what is essentially the first "battle" of the War on Terror.  

I don't know the beliefs of the values of any of the victims of Flight 93.  I don't know if they were conservative or liberal, Democrat or Republican, Socialist or Libertarian.  If asked to die for our country, I don't have a clue what any of them would have said.  Still, they died for America.  Their lives will be forever linked in the minds of patriotic Americans with the battle for Freedom and the ideals that America was founded upon.   Like it or not, they will be right along side those who fought in the Revolutionary war, and World Wars I and II, and in Iraq and Afghanistan in the minds of most Americans.

From all the news sources I've gathered, the owner of the parcel of land in question is not asking an exorbitant price for the land.  In fact, he has never named a price.  He simply wants an independent third party to value the land.  That seems reasonable and fair.  The government has placed a value on the land, but who knows whether that value is "real" or not.  Most likely it is not.  

When the government values land, it is not interested in a "fair market value" for any piece of land.  It is only interested in a "tax value".  That could be much more, or much less than a market value.  

I recall a couple of years back when tax valuations came out for homes in the town where I live.  Property values had dropped significantly, but tax values went up.  A number of locals asked the county if they were willing to purchase their homes for the values they assessed.  Of course, the county was not.

In the case of this parcel of Pennsylvania property, the historical significance of the land has an effect on the value.  That's not a choice the landowner made, but it is a fact of life.  How much Flight 93 has affected the value of the land is unknown.  The land hasn't been valued by someone who could research what the fair market value is.  But there is no question, the land is worth more, perhaps many times more, than what the government has valued the land at.

As Americans, we should all stand beside this small businessman in Pennsylvania, and insist that he receive a fair price for his property.  It's the right thing to do.


Anonymous,  December 31, 2008 at 10:55 PM  

I agree the government should not take the land.

Happy New Year

Grace Explosion January 1, 2009 at 9:23 PM  

The Government should not take the land. If Bush moves to seize it - my grace will be done. The rights to private property trump any other. Let the family members seek outside donations to add to the Government bid if the memorial is so important to others. If it's not, then the people have spoken. The land owner sure did - and I'm not happy that instead of asking donations... they asked that the land be seized. I'm not accepting of people having no respect for the rights of Americans. And I'm tired of their excuses.

Bloviating Zeppelin January 6, 2009 at 10:32 AM  

No matter the good intent, a proposed seizure such as that is simply wrong.


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This blog is about my opinions and world view.  I am a conservative, evangelical Christian.  Generally speaking, if you post a comment, I'll allow you to express your view.  However, if you say something hateful, untruthful, or just generally something I don't like, I may remove it.

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