The point out of September 11, 2001, inevitably stirs a posh mixture of feelings. On our preliminary journey to Washington DC, we regrettably missed the Pentagon, so throughout our most up-to-date go to, I made it a precedence to rectify that and discover the positioning.
It was then that I stumbled upon the Pentagon Memorial, realizing that it was an crucial cease on our itinerary. The need to pay homage to the occasions of that fateful day and the lives affected led us to the grounds of this memorial, and beneath I’ll inform you all the pieces you might want to know earlier than making a go to.
What’s The Pentagon 9/11 Memorial?
The Pentagon 9/11 Memorial is a memorial devoted to the 184 individuals who misplaced their lives through the terrorist assault on the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. It options 184 illuminated benches, every representing a sufferer, organized by the start 12 months of the individual and its positioned simply exterior of the Pentagon.
Background on the Pentagon 9/11 Memorial
Julie Beckman and Keith Kaseman, the artistic minds behind the Pentagon 9/11 Memorial, emerged victorious from a pool of over 1,100 design submissions.
Their imaginative and prescient got here to life when development kicked off on June 15, 2006, culminating in a dedication ceremony on September 11, 2008—commemorating the seventh anniversary of the tragic occasions.
The symbolism woven into the Pentagon 9/11 Memorial, beginning with its benches, is actually shifting.
Every of the 184 illuminated benches serves as a heartfelt tribute to a person sufferer of the assault.
When studying the names on the benches, if you’re going through the Pentagon that implies that particular person was inside the Pentagon on the time of the assault and when you’re going through away from the Pentagon, that implies that particular person was aboard Flight American Airways Flight 77.
A delicate, illuminated pool of flowing water graces every memorial bench, its fountains casting a shimmering glow within the evening.
In instances the place a number of relations handed away, the names etched on the benches tie relations collectively, guaranteeing their connection will not be misplaced amid the multitude of engraved names.
What’s particularly considerate is the association of benches by start 12 months, from 3-year-old Dana Falkenberg to 71-year-old John Yamnicky Sr. This not solely facilitates straightforward location of particular names but additionally underscores the varied life experiences of the victims.
A bench alongside the memorial is accompanied by a wall, starting from 3 inches to 71 in peak—a delicate but highly effective illustration of the victims’ age vary. You’ll be able to see the excessive finish of the wall beneath, and the decrease portion of the wall within the picture beneath that one.
Plans for an training heart on the Pentagon Memorial are set to materialize by 2026, simply in time for the twenty fifth anniversary of 9/11. This heart goals to supply a complete understanding of the occasions surrounding that fateful day.
However for now, there’s an attractive audio tour out there. You’ve gotten the choice of a 25-minute or a extra concise 12-minute model; merely dial the supplied cellphone quantity to embark on the journey.
The tour kicks off on the distinctive black entry stone of the Pentagon Memorial, guiding you thru key factors of curiosity and delivering a wealthy historical past of the Pentagon.
Via the audio tour, you acquire a way of what the day was like on the time of the assault, hear from survivors, and in addition get some background on the Pentagon itself.
One notable spotlight that the audio tour will level out is the unique charred black stone, located on the Pentagon’s base and reset into the muse. You’ll be able to search for it between the age traces denoting the years 1959 and 1961.
The way to go to the memorial
The memorial is open every single day of the 12 months and is open 24 hours.
Attending to the memorial is slightly bit tough when you’re driving your individual automobile as a result of there isn’t any on-site parking.
We opted to park on the Trend Centre at Pentagon Metropolis and use the 2 hour metered parking as we had been going to get one thing to eat afterwards.
If you happen to go for public transportation, you’ll be able to take the Metrorail to the Pentagon or Pentagon Metropolis stops on the Blue and Yellow traces, and it’s a brief stroll from there.
Our expertise on the memorial
Our journey started as we made our method from the car parking zone and navigated a tunnel beneath the I-395 freeway on an exceptionally chilly day. The temperatures lingered within the low 30s, and the winds, fairly gusty, greeted us with dedication
As we adopted the indicators resulting in the memorial, it turned obvious that we had been the lone souls heading in the direction of the Pentagon. The bulk appeared to be streaming away from the brisk climate, seemingly escaping the weather after a day of labor.
A minor disappointment hit once I seen an indication prohibiting pictures on the Pentagon’s premises, thwarting my preliminary plans to seize the memorial. Undeterred, we pressed on, and to my delight, an indication later revealed that pictures was allowed inside the memorial itself.
Upon reaching the doorway marker, you’ll be greeted by the inscribed phrases:
“We declare this floor in remembrance of the occasions of September 11, 2001, to honor the 184 folks whose lives had been misplaced, their households, and all who sacrifice that we could stay in freedom. We are going to always remember.”
That is an opportune second to kick off the audio tour, setting the tone to your expertise.
Simply past the doorway marker, you’ll encounter a stone that pays homage to the varied array of victims—from college students to medical doctors—underscoring the vast spectrum of lives affected by the tragedy. It serves as a degree of remembrance earlier than delving deeper.
As you step inside, the primary bench you encounter is devoted to three-year-old Dana Falkenberg who, alongside together with her whole household, tragically misplaced her life. You might even see little toys positioned on her bench and it’s about as poignant a second as you’ll be able to ever have so be ready for it.
Be happy to meander by the memorial at your individual tempo, although I’d recommend tagging together with the audio tour initially. It gives a structured glimpse right into a portion of the memorial earlier than granting you the liberty to discover independently.
Our go to unfolded in solitude, with the whole memorial echoing the anticipated vacancy introduced on by the tough climate. The bitter chill within the air intensified the expertise as we wandered by the expansive two acres, surrounded solely by dormant bushes and vacant benches.
Memorials of this nature, just like the USS Oklahoma Memorial, the place a lot of particular person buildings symbolize the multitude of lives misplaced, have a method of evoking a profound sense of tragedy.
Strolling amongst them, the overwhelming mixture of feelings is tough to flee—disappointment, horror, and even anger. Anger at those that deliberate and carried out these assaults. Anger at those that celebrated these assaults of their streets. Anger at mindless struggling.
But, amid the load of those feelings, there exists a serene tranquility right here.
The mild trickle of water and the considerate design present a way of peace, providing a counterbalance to the extraordinary emotions that such memorials inevitably stir. It imparts a sure stage of order to the dysfunction inherent in recounting the occasions of September eleventh.
One facet that units this 9/11 memorial other than all the others I’ve visited is the stark indisputable fact that the construction focused within the assault, the Pentagon, looms vast over the memorial itself.
It’s a placing visible reminder that life continues, even within the aftermath of tragedy, and but, we will honor and keep in mind these we misplaced within the course of. Each resilience and remembrance are exuded at their most interesting.
Because the relentless wind numbed my fingers and face we determined it was time to retreat, capping off an emotionally charged and weather-beaten go to to this vital website.
Navigating the intricate particulars of September 11 can lead one down a rabbit gap of feelings and reminiscences, even for these with out private connections to the direct victims. The burden of that day, its profound influence on numerous lives, and the collective grief it stirred can solid shadows into private reflections.
Regardless of not having direct ties to those that suffered, a way of responsibility and respect attracts many, together with myself, to go to these memorial websites. It’s a method of acknowledging and honoring the profound struggling endured by others—maybe much more deeply than one’s particular person expertise may recommend.
The act of paying respects turns into a bridge connecting private empathy to the shared grief of a nation. It’s a testomony to the enduring influence of that tragic day and the collective accountability we really feel to recollect and honor the lives ceaselessly modified.
Daniel Gillaspia is the Founding father of UponArriving.com and the bank card app, WalletFlo. He’s a former legal professional turned journey knowledgeable protecting locations together with TSA, airline, and lodge insurance policies. Since 2014, his content material has been featured in publications similar to Nationwide Geographic, Smithsonian Journal, and CNBC. Learn my bio.