Located on the southwest grounds of the Pentagon, the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial commemorates the lives of the 184 men and women who died when American Airlines Flight 77 was crashed into the DoD building during the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The memorial contains a bench for each of the victims, arranged according to their year of birth.
The memorial is surrounded by a wall which rises from 3 to 71 inches tall, to represent the ages of the youngest victim, 3 year old Dana Falkenberg, and of the oldest one, retired U.S. Navy Captain John D. Yamnicky, Sr. The orientation of the benches is also full of symbolism, facing either the Pentagon, where the plane hit, for those victims who worked in the building, or away from it, facing the sky where they came from, for the passengers and crew of American Airline flight 77. Tours are not typically offered, in order for visitors to experience this place of reflection on a personal level.
In the evening, in particular, the memorial is particularly moving. The benches, which are cast from stainless steel, stand above an individual pool of water lighted at night. The trickling of the water on a quiet night offers the perfect background for solemn remembrance in the dimly lit memorial. If you’re looking to visit the memorial tomorrow on the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks, you will actually only be able to visit it in the evening, after 6PM. Until then, it will be closed to the general public so that survivors and the families of the victims can gather in private.