Today our team posted this photo and caption on Cincinnati Museum Center’s social media platforms. Perhaps you will be interested in the story behind this flag which hangs today in the Union Terminal Rotunda.
“On this day we remember those we tragically lost and we honor those who courageously risked everything to save another.
In response to the attacks on September 11, 2001, our President & CEO, Doug McDonald, with the help of businessman Carl Lindner, brought this flag to hang on the face of Union Terminal for all of Cincinnati and the world to see. This flag is our constant reminder of the heroism of our first responders and that this nation will forever stand united in the defense of freedom and liberty. #NeverForget”
On September 11, 2001, as we were all sitting in shock, management was spending time with our security team who were on high alert realizing that in Cincinnati; Union Terminal was one of the most visible landmarks with large crowds and a relatively unregulated entrance.
The shock began to convert to anger and then to patriotic pride. We decided we wanted to find the largest flag possible and put it on the front of Union Terminal to make a bold statement of patriotism to our community and to the world. Our team started making phone calls to find a really large flag. The largest size was 40 x 60 feet and we found just a couple in the country. We wanted to put it up the next day but there were no airplane flights allowed and thus, overnight shipping wasn’t possible.
Finally a flag was found in Northern Ohio and our team resolved that they would drive to get it taking turns driving to have the flag on Union Terminal the next day. In the end, ground transportation continued and they were able to ship it to us that night.
The total cost of the flag was a little less than $2,500. I mentioned to a staff person that I was going to call Carl Lindner and ask him if he would be willing to underwrite the cost. I received a response that this wasn’t a big enough amount to bother Mr. Lindner and Cincinnati Museum Center could certainly pay for the flag from our budget. I explained that sometimes you give people the honor of making a gift, it isn’t always about need. Mr. Lindner instantly said he would be honored to pay for the flag and I suspect he was proud each time he saw it as well.
These photos were taken at the Cincinnati Community Day of Remembrance ceremony on September 11, 2002. The museums were all opened the public for free that day as the two large hook and ladder trucks were positioned in front of Union Terminal with our large US flag suspended between them.
Today this flag hangs in the Cincinnati Union Terminal Rotunda and has instilled the spirit of freedom and the love of America to millions of people who have seen it since that day13-years ago.
The Cincinnati Museum Center Board of Trustees met the afternoon of August 13, 2014 and issued following statement:
“Cincinnati Museum Center Board of Trustees is abundantly grateful to the community for the continuous support for Cincinnati’s Union Terminal. We recognize the Cultural Facilities Task Force for their tremendous leadership in addressing the urgent needs of Union Terminal. We thank the Board of County Commissioners for placing a $170 million sales tax ballot issue before the public, which if approved, would advance the preservation of Union Terminal in an unprecedented manner.
The Board is actively considering the implications of the Commissioners Policy Resolution related to this upcoming sales tax ballot issue and have asked management to gather additional information before reaching a definitive position.
As we were in the beginning of this process, we remain committed to the full restoration of both of our community’s icons; Music Hall and Union Terminal and as such, we will work with the Music Hall Revitalization Corporation, the County, City and Cultural Facilities Task Force to achieve this outcome.”
John Maynard Keynes said, “Ideas shape the course of history.”
The essential question to all of us as leaders is, “what difference will we make.” At the end of our era of leadership or at the end of our existence, did we create a variance in the natural trajectory of that for which we were responsible?
It is not just a great idea that shapes the course of history, it is the leaders who take hold of the great idea and when opportunity presents itself; great leaders step forward. That moment is here, it is now, and it is before you.
The Cultural Facilities Task Force led by Robert McDonald exemplified distinguished leadership. They stepped forward, created a great idea and made personal sacrifices bringing the idea to you.
Restoring Union Terminal is the foundation for Cincinnati Museum Center’s becoming one of America’s greatest museums. Union Terminal and Music Hall are treasured and share our community’s soul.
This plan will change the natural trajectory of our community and its citizens forever.
Today, we ask you to permit our citizens the right of self-determination, to decide their own course of history at the ballot box.
This is, as Keynes said, an idea which will shape the course of our history.
HEY YO! - Have we got what it takes to respect the jewells of a cityscape? Cincinnati, Save Our Icons!
Monday the Hamilton County Commissioners will be asked to allow the citizens of our county to vote on saving Cincinnati’s Union Terminal and Music Hall. Two great buildings which define our community.
Somedays I feel we have come far towards a diverse and inclusive society and other days I am troubled. Today was a troubling day for me. Today I celebrated the life and legacy of Juanita M. Adams with over 400 others at the Greater New Hope Missionary Baptist Church. I was one of 4 white faces in attendance.
In many such funerals this may not be surprising because churches and schools remain the most segregated institutions in the US. Yet Juanita Adams lived her life broadly, she touched the lives of all of us. As a city staffer for 40 years, a leader in many organizations and as a co-chair of more galas than many people will ever attend benefiting a wide range of community organizations including Cincinnati Museum Center and the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. She lived her life among and for the benefit of all of us whether our complexion is light or dark.
Juanita was willing to engage in any endeavor for good regardless of the race of those who benefitted. I would have thought this celebration would have been much more inclusive.
Perhaps this is a reflection that while many of us are committed to inclusiveness we remain uncomfortable with the culture of the African American community and in particular the Black Church experience. Minorities have no option but to participate in the majority population’s culture. If we aspire to reach the full potential of our society, the majority must be purposeful in experiencing and valuing the culture of all those in our community. It would be a wonderful way to honor the life of Juanita M. Adams.
Union Terminal opened 81 years ago today. Imagine how people in 1933 must have been astonished when then entered the doors and saw the magnificent rotunda. Well, come to think of it, it is the same reaction they have today!