• The Pentagon Memorial was opened to the public on September 11, 2008, seven years after a plane, hijacked by terrorists, crashed into the Pentagon and killed 189 people onboard and in the building.

    The memorial was designed and constructed by the architects Julie Beckman and Keith Kaseman, and engineer Buro Happold. The site, which includes trees, plaques, and walking paths, is dominated by 184 benches, each honoring a victim of the crash. (The five hijackers, who also died, are not honored.)

    The benches are made of stainless steel inlaid with granite. Each bench is inscribed with a victim's name on the end, and arches over a shallow reflecting pool of water, lit from below. If more than one family member died in the crash, the name of each family member is inscribed in the pool, as well as on their individual bench.

    The memorial's benches are arranged facing opposite directions along the flight path of the doomed plane. The 125 benches facing the Pentagon, including most of those in this photograph, memorialize victims who died in the building. Looking at one of these benches, a visitor will see their engraved name and the Pentagon in the same view. Visitors looking at the 59 benches memorializing those who died on the plane will see the victim's inscribed name and the open sky in the same view.

    The memorial benches are arranged along thin steel "Age Lines" marking the birth years of victims from 1998 (3-year-old Dana Falkenberg) to 1930 (71-year-old Navy Capt. John D. Yamnicky, Sr., Ret.). Within each Age Line, the benches are arranged by month and date of birth. This architectural design aims to unify victims without regard to their status as man or woman, military or civilian, rich or poor.

  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    architect Noun

    person who designs buildings or other large structures.

    civilian Noun

    person who is not in the military.

    engineer Noun

    person who plans the building of things, such as structures (construction engineer) or substances (chemical engineer).

    granite Noun

    type of hard, igneous rock.

    hijack Verb

    to steal a transportation vessel, such as a truck or plane, or the cargo it is carrying.

    inscribe Verb

    to mark or engrave a surface.

    memorial adjective, noun

    something designed or written to preserve the memory of an event or person.

    military Noun

    armed forces.

    Pentagon Noun

    (Arlington, Virginia) huge office building that is the headquarters of the U.S. Department of Defense.

    stainless steel Noun

    metal that is very resistant to rust.

    terrorist Adjective

    having to do with the use of non-military violence and/or threats of violence to achieve or advocate political change.

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