First dedicated in 2008, the the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial has been a solemn, quiet escape for mourners to pay their respects to those who died at the Pentagon at 9:37 a.m., Sept. 11, 2001, when terrorists flew American Airlines Flight 77 into the west side of the building, killing 184 people onboard and employees inside the U.S. military headquarters.
The physical damage to the Pentagon was rebuilt in less than a year.
The memorial was closed Sept. 9, 2019, for renovations, and was scheduled to reopen in May 2020, but because of COVID-19 restrictions on the Pentagon Reservation and other factors, it is not yet open to the public, Sue Gough, DOD spokeswoman, said.
The memorial comprises hallowed grounds sheltered from the hubbub of surrounding Washington, D.C. Each of the victims is honored with a memorial unit — a cantilevered bench, a lighted pool of flowing water and a permanent tribute by name. Each memorial bench is made of stainless steel, inlaid with granite.
Described as elegant and simple, the Pentagon Memorial displays a timeline of the victims’ ages, spanning from the youngest victim, 3-year-old Dana Falkenberg, who was onboard Flight 77, to the eldest, John D. Yamnicky, 71, a Navy veteran, also on the flight that morning.
The memorial units are situated to distinguish those who were inside the Pentagon from those who were onboard Flight 77. At the 125 memorials honoring the victims inside the Pentagon, visitors see the victim’s name and the Pentagon in the same view. At the memorials honoring the 59 lives lost on the flight, visitors see the victim’s name and the direction of the plane’s approach in the same view.
The 184 memorial units are situated on the age line according to the year the victim was born. Shown by stainless steel strips that cross the memorial, the age lines begin at the zero line, which spans from the Pentagon Memorial Gateway to the memorial entrance. Etched into the granite zero line is the date and time of the attack: “September 11, 2001 9:37 a.m.”