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Description of Pictures: Two visits:
September 12, 2001 On September 11, I was on leave from work, writing a long description of my just-completed three-week trip to New England. I had no idea what had happened until a friend called from California somewhere around 2pm. As a result, I always felt that I had missed a fair amount of the feeling of September 11 and that probably helped account for why I ended up visiting the Pentagon, the World Trade Center site, and the Shanksville Pennsylvania site (where the fourth plane had crashed).
When I came into work the day after, I went into my boss' office and found she could still see smoke rising from the Pentagon building. During lunch, I tried to walk to the Pentagon. The streets were pretty well empty of tourists and pedestrians but there were lots of police around. As I neared the Pentagon, I ran into a police line. They said there were rumors of another missing plane and sent us on our way.
Afterward, I went to a parking garage at Pentagon City which gave me a view of the damaged section of the Pentagon. It's amazing to consider that a chunk of the Interstate runs right by it. It must have been hell during the attack.
November 3, 2001 I decided to visit the Pentagon to take some pictures. I'd tried before. The day after the attacks, I'd walked over to the Pentagon from my office but the police pushed people back. Roads were blocked off. You couldn't get in unless you were press. Things were different now. The repairs were now normal so life had adjusted.
It was an interesting visit and a very different experience than New York had been for me. In part, that's because of the difference in time. I'd seen New York 12 days after the attack and here it was 53 days after that I was seeing the Pentagon. People start to get on with their lives and spend less time thinking about past events and losses as time goes on. This is healthy.
But I think too that the New York City attack will always be a different experience for us. Obviously, there's the vast difference in the numbers of people killed and the subsequent number of people directly touched by the event. But even for those of us who don't know anyone directly impacted, I think people still feel differently about New York. Watching the buildings dissolve in front of your eyes on television makes an impression that I can't imagine ever forgetting.
So I was here at the Pentagon now. You're allowed in the Pentagon parking lot but then you run into the fence and the security perimeter. There's a knoll where you can see over the fence and watch them working on the structure. You can get within about 200 feet of the clean-up.
Others were making the same pilgrimage I was. They'd park and then walk up the hill in twos and threes. Old people, young people, kids, white, black, oriental, Hispanic, men, women. They'd talk quietly. Some brought blankets and planned to sit there watching for some time. Some asked to have their pictures taken in front of it. I guess you could get a tourist-attraction feeling from that but I took it more that the attacks had been a defining moment in their lives and they wanted their own memorial from it.
While I was there, they had cranes that were knocking down chunks of the walls in the rings that were hit. There were some burn marks on the outer walls. Otherwise, frankly, it looked almost surgical, like a pie after a slice had been taken out. Some one remarked that it looked so much worse before. The cranes had essentially cauterized the wound so it was cleaner now. You'd watch the chunks fall, the guys in other cranes hosing down the dust. Cauterizing before it could be healed.
There were some tribute areas but nothing of the number or size that I'd seen in New York City. The tributes I saw back then had been intensely personal, with anguished words directed toward specific people lost in the attacks. The flowers were well attended to, dead ones being thrown out and new ones appearing daily. There was a lot of love there. At the Pentagon, the tributes were mostly religious, directed toward no one in specific. Most of the flowers here were either dead or artificial. I attributed most of this to time.
So we watched. There were a few guys with binoculars and rifles on the Pentagon roof watching us. As I left, I saw the construction workers' entrance to the damage site. There were some guards in camouflage and even a military dog. Some of the workers were milling about in front of a line which was marked "Photography Prohibited." I figured that meant beyond the line. So I started talking to the workers. They had their masks with them. They said there was burned out asbestos in the building so they had to be careful.
I changed film rolls and started to take a few more pictures with a new roll when one of the guards yelled at me. He came up with his machine gun and told me I wasn't allowed to photograph there. I said I thought that meant behind the line but he said no; I wasn't allowed to take pictures of the security of the area at all. He demanded my film and my driver's license. I'd never had film confiscated before. He apologized as I opened the camera, exposed the roll I had just put in there, and gave it to him. But he was just doing his job so what could I say? As it was, I only lost six pictures (the roll cost a buck at Costco).
After he took the film and asked me some identification questions, we talked about the operation going on. (I kept wondering if I should be reacting differently to a guy with a machine gun who'd just seized my film but I didn't take it personally.) He said they figured the reconstruction was going to take awhile. The construction workers, most of whom were clearly foreign born, had to have badges to get in but he said they didn't need major security clearances. The thought was to have the building fixed as soon as possible with what labor they could get. The main building had been sealed off from the destroyed portion (cauterization again) and the Pentagon had lots of their own guards in the area so there wasn't any real security risk here.
Afterward, I walked over to the Costco there (I'm a Costco junkie). They had just gotten wall calendars for 2002 with a pre-attack World Trade Center picture on every month. More healing. I bought multiple copies.
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Copyrights: All pictures were taken by amateur photographer Bruce Guthrie (me!) who retains copyright on them. Free for non-commercial use with attribution. See the [Creative Commons] definition of what this means. "Photos (c) Bruce Guthrie" is fine for attribution. (Commercial use folks including AI scrapers can of course contact me.) Feel free to use in publications and pages with attribution but you don't have permission to sell the photos themselves. A free copy of any printed publication using any photographs is requested. Descriptive text, if any, is from a mixture of sources, quite frequently from signs at the location or from official web sites; copyrights, if any, are retained by their original owners.
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Specific picture descriptions: Photos above with "i" icons next to the bracketed sequence numbers (e.g. " ") are described as follows:
PEN911_010912_01.JPG: Smoke rising from the Pentagon the day after 9/11
PEN911_010912_02.JPG: I had wanted to walk to the Pentagon (having already covered a couple of miles on foot) when I ran into this police barricade. They claimed that another plane had been seen (this was the day after the attack) and we should leave. I don't know if they were just saying that to get rid of us or whether the hysteria continued into the second day but obviously no planes were allowed to fly that day.
PEN911_010912_04.JPG: You can see some smoke arising above the building. The Pentagon was just beyond this.
PEN911_010912_06.JPG: After being rejected from the road approach, I went to nearby Pentagon City (a shopping mall) and went to the top of the parking garage roof with a bunch of other onlookers. These pictures were taken from there. Note that the I-395 road leads right past the Pentagon so the delays from gawkers during rush hour must have been horrible.
PEN911_011103_003.JPG: Pentagon eight weeks after the 9/11 attacks
PEN911_011103_004.JPG: 7 weeks after the 9/11 attacks, workers were busy demolishing the section of the Pentagon that had been hit.
PEN911_011103_019.JPG: Work progressed on taking down the damaged Pentagon walls two months after the September 11 attacks. After taking a couple of rolls of film, a security guy with a machine gun took the roll in my camera away since I had photographed something he didn't like.
PEN911_011103_031.JPG: Pentagon eight weeks after the 9/11 attacks
PEN911_011103_032.JPG: This is a picture of the guards. After I changed rolls and took some more pictures, they stopped me and forced me to expose the latest roll of film.
AAA "Gem": AAA considers this location to be a "must see" point of interest. To see pictures of other areas that AAA considers to be Gems, click here.
Wikipedia Description: Pentagon Memorial
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Pentagon Memorial, located just southwest of The Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, is a permanent outdoor memorial to those killed in the building and on American Airlines Flight 77 in the September 11, 2001 attacks.
Designed by Julie Beckman and Keith Kaseman of the architectural firm of Kaseman Beckman Advanced Strategies, the memorial opened to the public on September 11, 2008.
In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, an impromptu memorial was set up on a hill at the Navy Annex, overlooking the Pentagon. People came to pay respects and place tributes. One month after the attacks, 25,000 people attended a memorial service at the Pentagon for employees and family members; speakers included President George W. Bush and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Bush remarked, "The wound to this building will not be forgotten, but it will be repaired. Brick by brick, we will quickly rebuild the Pentagon." The American flag that hung on the Pentagon, near the damaged section, was lowered during the service.
America's Heroes Memorial:
Opened in September 2002 after Pentagon repairs were completed, the America's Heroes Memorial and chapel are located where American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the building.
The memorial includes a book of photographs and biographies of the victims. It also includes five large black acrylic panels: one displays the Purple Heart medal awarded to military members killed in the attacks, another shows the medal given to civilians, two back wall panels are etched with the victims' names, and a center panel shows tribute statements. The small chapel, located in an adjacent room, has stained glass windows with patriotic-themed designs.
Design and construction:
The Pentagon Memorial was constructed from a design by Beckman and Kaseman of New York City, with design support from Buro Happold, that was chosen following a design competition. To honor the 184 victims, 184 illuminated benches, have been arranged according to the victim's ages, from 3 to 71, in a landscaped 1.93-acre (7,800 m2) plot. Each bench is engraved with the name of a victim. The benches representing the victims that were inside the Pentagon are arranged so those reading the names will face the Pentagon's south facade, where the plane hit; benches with victims on the plane are arranged so that those reading the engraved name will be facing skyward along the path the plane traveled. About 80 paperbark maple trees are planted on the memorial grounds.
The Pentagon Memorial Fund, Inc. has a goal of raising $32 million. The construction of the memorial is estimated to cost $22 million, with another $10 million set aside in an endowment to provide maintenance of the memorial. As of May 2007, $13.8 million had been raised for construction of the memorial. Donations include $250,000 from American Forests towards planting trees at the memorial, and $1 million from the government of Taiwan.
Construction began on June 15, 2006. By November 2006, site excavation, re-routing of existing utility lines had been completed, and water lines laid for the fountain pools. By May 2007, the foundation of the perimeter wall was built and concrete pilings poured for each bench.
The Memorial was dedicated and opened to the public on September 11, 2008. President George W. Bush called the memorial "an everlasting tribute to the 184 souls who perished." Over 20,000 people attended the dedication ceremony, including past Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Michael Mullen, and Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates. It was opened to the public at 7 p.m. in a separate ceremony with a music performance by the Navy Band and the Sea Chanters Chorus.
The Memorial is open 7 days a week year-round.
The National Park Service anticipates the memorial will attract more than 2 million visitors per year.
The memorial is protected by the United States Pentagon Police.
To commemorate the anniversary each year, an American flag is hung on the section of the Pentagon hit by Flight 77. At night, this section of the building is lit up in blue lights. For the fifth anniversary, a "Tribute of Lights" display included 184 beams of light from the center courtyard shining into the sky.
Anniversary events also include the America Supports You National Freedom Walk, which has been held on Sundays. The walk starts at the Lincoln Memorial and ends at the Pentagon. The Arlington Police/Fire/Sheriff 5K Race is held on Saturdays, around the anniversary, with the course going through part of Crystal City and through the Pentagon grounds.
Memorial services are held on the anniversary of 9/11 at the Pentagon, with one service in an auditorium at the Pentagon for employees. A smaller service is held at the memorial site for family and friends of victims killed at the Pentagon on 9/11.
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