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Special Section

REMEMBERING 9-11: The National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial

REMEMBERING 9-11: The National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial

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September 7, 2011
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Pentagon Memorial

The 184 souls lost in the terrorist attack at

the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, when

hijacked American Airlines Flight 77 crashed

into the Pentagon, were mothers fathers

husbands, wives, children, brothers, sisters,

coworkers, flight crew, friends, patriots.

The Pentagon Memorial captures that

moment in time at 9:37 a.m. when 184

lives became intertwined for eternity. Each

victim’s age and location at the time of the

attack have been permanently inscribed into

the Memorial by the unique placement and

direction of each of the 184 Memorial Units.

Elegant and simple, the Pentagon Memorial

serves as a timeline of the victims’ ages,

spanning from the youngest victim, threeyear-

old Dana Falkenberg, who was on board

American Airlines Flight 77, to the oldest,

John D. Yamnicky, 71, a Navy veteran, also

aboard Flight 77 that morning.

The Pentagon Memorial Gateway

The 184 Memorial Units within the Pentagon

Memorial are located on the age line according

to the year the victim was born. The

age lines, denoted by stainless steel strips

that cross the Memorial, begin at the zero

line, which spans from the Gateway to the

entrance of the Memorial. Etched into the

granite zero line is the date and time of the

attack: “SEPTEMBER 11, 2001 9:37 A.M.”

Visitors to the Memorial may look up a

victim’s name and birth year on the locator

stone within the Pentagon Memorial Gateway.

On age lines with multiple victims, the

Memorial Units are organized by birth date

along that line.

The Memorial Units

Each Memorial Unit is a cantilevered bench, a

lighted pool of flowing water, and a permanent

tribute, by name, to each victim, in

one single element. Each memorial bench

is made of stainless steel and inlaid with

smooth granite. Each Memorial Unit contains

a pool of water, reflecting light in the

evenings onto the bench and surrounding

gravel field.

Each Memorial Unit is also specifically positioned

in the Memorial to distinguish victims

who were in the Pentagon from those who

were on board American Airlines Flight 77. At

the 125 Memorial Units honoring the victims

of the Pentagon, visitors see the victim’s

name and the Pentagon in the same view.

At the Memorial Units honoring the 59 lives

lost on Flight 77, the visitor sees the victim’s

name and the direction of the plane’s approach

in the same view.

Victims from the same family are linked by

a plaque at the end of the pool of water,

which lists their family members who also

died in the attack, forever binding the family


The Pentagon Memorial Landscape

Within the Pentagon Memorial, 85 Crape

Myrtle trees are clustered around the Memorial

Units, but are not dedicated to any one

victim. These trees will grow up to 30 feet to

provide a canopy of shade over the Memorial

for years to come.

The Memorial’s stabilized gravel surface is

bordered on the western edge by an Age

Wall. The Age Wall grows 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

three inches (the age of Dana Falkenberg) to

71 inches (the age of John D. Yamnicky). The

Age Wall draws the eye to the Memorial for

drivers passing by on Washington Boulevard

and the adjacent Arlington County Bike Path,

while ensuring solitude for visitors. Ornamental

grasses mark the boundaries of the


The Pentagon Memorial 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 Washington, D.C.

area, including two former Secretaries of

Defense. The Pentagon Memorial is the first

national memorial dedicated to the horrific

events that unfolded on September 11,

2001 -- events that claimed 184 lives at the

Pentagon, and thousands more around the

United States. The Pentagon Memorial is also

dedicated to future generations that they

might reflect upon and renew their faith in

shared American values.

Learn more at

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