Families of Sept. 11 victims tour the Pentagon Memorial construction site


More than five years after their loved ones were killed at the Pentagon during the Sept. 11 attacks, relatives of the victims got a chance Friday to tour the construction site of a memorial park being built in their honor.

When it is completed next year, the park will stand just outside the Pentagon wall where American Airlines Flight 77 crashed on Sept. 11, 2001, killing 184 people.

Seeing the park take shape brought tears to Abraham Scott's eyes.

"Now I can actually see and touch something and know that it's going to happen," said Scott, whose wife, Janice Marie, was killed three months before their 25th wedding anniversary. She was a civilian worker at the Pentagon.

Planning for the memorial began two months after the attacks, and a ceremonial groundbreaking was held last June. The Memorial Day weekend tour was the first opportunity for many of the families involved in the Pentagon Memorial Fund to see the site since construction began.

The park will have 184 benches, each inscribed with a victim's name and paired with a small reflecting pool. They will be placed in order of the victims' ages, with 3-year-old Dana Falkenberg at one end and 71-year-old John D. Yamnicky at the other.

The fund still has plenty of work ahead of it. Nearly $8 million out of the estimated $21.5 million cost of building the park still needs to be raised. Fund leaders also want to raise another $10 million to create a permanent endowment to maintain the memorial.

Jim Laychak, the fund's president, said his brother, Dave, a civilian who worked at the Pentagon, would probably tell him to get on with his life instead of working on the memorial.

"These things are for the living," Laychak said. "This is important for us, it's important for the family members, and it's important for the country."

Rosemary Dillard, the fund's vice president, walked around the site and found where her husband's bench will be. She felt a cool breeze when she got there, and it made her smile: Eddie was getting a good spot.

"I want it to be a cool spot because I want everybody to come and share my love for Eddie by coming and sitting on this bench and rubbing his name that's going to be engraved on the end of it," she said.


On the Net:

Pentagon Memorial Fund: http:www.pentagonmemorial.net/

Share This Story