The Pentagon 9/11 Memorial

The Pentagon 9/11 Memorial

Today is the 13th anniversary of the Tuesday, September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, a series of four coordinated attacks launched by the Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda against the United States, using four passenger airlines to attack targets in New York City and the D.C. metropolitan area. It is estimated that the attacks killed almost 3,000 people, and caused at least $10 billion in property and infrastructure damage.

In commemoration of the anniversary of the attacks, I rode to The Pentagon Memorial, which is located at 1 North Rotary Road (MAP) on the grounds of The Pentagon, just southwest of the main building in Arlington, Virginia. The Pentagon Memorial was opened to the public six years ago today, on September 11, 2008.

The Pentagon Memorial is a permanent outdoor memorial to the victims who died in the Pentagon, or were passengers or crew members aboard American Airlines Flight 77, which was crashed by the terrorists into the building as part of the attacks. The memorial’s design was developed by Julie Beckman and Keith Kaseman. Their vision for the Memorial was selected from more than 1,100 submissions by a panel of architects, family members, and public figures in the D.C. area, including two former Secretaries of Defense.

To honor the 184 victims, the main focus of the memorial consists of a corresponding number of cantilevered benches, which are illuminated, and made of stainless steel and inlaid with smooth granite. Each bench includes a shallow lighted pool of flowing water underneath it, and is engraved with the name of an individual victim. If more than one member of a family died during the attack, family names are listed in the reflecting pool under the bench in order to forever bind the family together. This is in addition to the separate benches that have been created for each individual family member. Symbolically, the benches representing the victims that were inside the Pentagon are arranged so those reading the names are facing the Pentagon’s south facade, where the plane struck. The benches dedicated to victims aboard the plane are arranged so that those reading the engraved name are facing skyward along the path the plane traveled.

The memorial also includes an “Age Wall” which encircles the area where the benches are located. The wall increases one inch per year in height above the perimeter bench relative to the age lines. As visitors move through the Memorial, the wall gets higher, growing from an initial height of three inches, representing the youngest victim, three year-old Dana Falkenberg.  Dana had just celebrated her third birthday, and was on Flight 77 along with her 9-year old sister Zoe, and their parents, Charles and Leslie. The wall progresses to a height of 71 inches, the age of John D. Yamnicky, Sr., the oldest of the 184 victims.  He was a retired Navy captain who was also on the plane.  He was enroute to a business meeting.  Inclusion of the age lines in the architectural design is intended to unify the victims without regard to their status as man or woman, military or civilian, rich or poor.

Other aspects of the Pentagon Memorial include flags, plaques, and walking paths. There are also 85 crape myrtle trees which are clustered around the memorial benches, but are not dedicated to any one victim. These trees will grow to a height of up to 30 feet, and will provide a canopy of shade over the Memorial for years to come.

Memorial services were also held at the Pentagon on this day, as they are on each anniversary of the attacks. A service for employees only is held in an auditorium inside the Pentagon. A smaller service is also held at the memorial site for family and friends of victims, as well as the public.

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Comments
  1. Beachbums1 says:

    It’s a beautiful and well-thought out memorial. Your photos show the essence of the place…

    Liked by 1 person

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