A photograph of Dan McWilliams, George Johnson, and Billy Eisengrein raising a flag on a pole anchored in about
A rendition of the photograph cast in bronze was planned in late 2001 as a memorial to the hundreds of New York City firefighters who lost their lives on
The controversial memorial would not have been historically accurate, however, as two of the three firefighters who raised the flag that day were to have been restyled as Hispanic and black figures in the
The New York Fire Department initially defended the proposed statue design, saying it accurately represented the
The "accuracy" of that representation was questionable: only 2.7% of the city's
Even while still in the planning stages, the memorial was already controversial. Those who viewed it as a monument to self-sacrifice embraced the racial adjustment, because to their minds the finished statue would better impart the message of everyone's striving together. Those who held that momuments and memorials to actual events and real people should be historically accurate rather than idealized versions were outraged by the proposed alteration.
The firestorm of public opinion resulted in the statue's donor, developer Bruce Ratner, scrapping plans for this particular testimonial to heroism.