At 9:37 a.m. on September 11, 2001, five hijackers crashed American Airlines Flight 77 into the Pentagon in Arlington County, Virginia. All 53 passengers and six crew members perished in the crash, and an additional 125 military and civilian personnel on the ground were killed in the fire caused by the crash.
The hijacking of Flight 77 was part of the broader attack on 9/11, which remains the deadliest terrorist attack in world history. The Pentagon Memorial was created to honor the 184 people whose lives were lost at the Pentagon on 9/11, as well as their families and all those who sacrifice to protect and preserve the freedom of Americans.
The design of the Pentagon Memorial was developed by architects Julie Beckman and Keith Kaseman. Their design was chosen from 1,100 submissions.
The Pentagon Memorial sits on two acres of land just outside where Flight 77 struck the building. The memorial includes 184 benches that are dedicated to each of the victims. The benches are organized in a timeline of their ages, stretching from the youngest victim, 3-year-old Dana Falkenberg, to the oldest, 71-year-old John Yamnicky.
Each bench is engraved with a victim’s name and arches over a shallow reflecting pool of water, lit from below. The benches for the passengers who were aboard the plane at the time of the crash are positioned so visitors will face the sky when reading the victim’s name. The benches dedicated to the victims who were inside the building are positioned so their names and the Pentagon are in the same view.
A curved wall known as the Age Wall also is a significant part of the memorial. The wall increases in height from 3 inches to 71 inches to represent the ages of the victims.
Eighty-five paperbark maple trees were clustered throughout the memorial, and these trees feature foliage that changes to orange and red each fall. The trees will eventually grow to 30 feet, providing a canopy of shade over the memorial.
The Pentagon Memorial is free and open seven days a week year-round, though visitors are urged to contact the Memorial in advance due to potential restrictions or closures related to the COVID-19 pandemic. More information about the Memorial is available at https://washington.org/find-dc-listings/national-911-pentagon-memorial.