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How a vision for the 9/11 Memorial blossomed into a piece of New York’s everyday fabric

Discover the first national memorial dedicated to the lives lost on September 11, 2001.

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Where and what is the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial?

The National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial is a national memorial dedicated to the tragic events that occurred on Sept. 11, 2001. All 184 lives lost in the attack on the Pentagon are represented by “Memorial Unit” benches. Surrounding the benches are 85 Crape Myrtles (trees that will grow up to 30 feet tall) and the Age Wall, which grows one inch in height per year relative to the ages of the victims.

father daughter reflect at 9 11 pentagon memorial public domain photo us coast guard patrick kelley

The memorial is located just outside the Pentagon, which has limited parking, meaning the best way to reach the site is to take the Metrorail to the Pentagon or Pentagon City stops on the Blue and Yellow lines and walk from there. The memorial is free and is usually open to the public 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The public restrooms by the entrance are open from 7 a.m. – 10 p.m.

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What will I see at the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial?

The Pentagon Memorial has an emotive power that few other memorials have, due to both the recency of the tragedy it pays homage to and its comprehensive listing of victims.

Nighttime at the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial in Virginia

Nighttime at the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial in Virginia

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When first approaching the expansive Memorial Gateway, visitors will spot a black granite stone stating the date and time of the tragic plane crash: Sept. 11, 2001 at 9:47 a.m. Words describe its purpose: “We claim this ground in remembrance of the events of September 11, 2001, to honor the 184 people whose lives were lost, their families, and all who sacrifice that we may live in freedom. We will never forget.”

Each of the aforementioned Memorial Units (or benches) has a victim’s age and location at the time of the attack inscribed on it. The benches are arranged along an age line, according to the year each victim was born. They are positioned to differentiate those who were on board American Airlines Flight 77 and those who were in the Pentagon, and each contains a pool of water that reflects light in the evenings.

The units honoring victims on board Flight 77 face the direction of the plane’s approach to the Pentagon, while those reading the names of Pentagon victims face the plane’s point of impact on the Pentagon’s south facade.

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Credits – Visiting the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial

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