Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Pentagon 9/11 Memorial

I love Washington DC. Being a history nut, I always enjoy visiting historical sites and monuments. But on my last trip, there was one memorial I wish wasn't needed at all: The Pentagon Memorial honoring the 184 people who lost their lives on 9/11.

We finally got to see it last October. It was our last day of our trip and it was raining pretty heavily. But I didn't even consider skipping it. It's something we needed to see.

It's surprisingly tranquil there considering that it's set against the epicenter of our nation's military. And even though there are roads and freeways nearby, you don't seem to hear anything else other than your feet walking on the gravel.

Each bench represents one of the victims. If the bench is facing towards the Pentagon, it represents one of the victims on the plane. If the bench faces outward from the Pentagon, it represents one of the victims on the ground.

I think the saddest benches were those dedicated to Zoe and Dana Falkenberg, ages 9 and 3 respectively. The Falkenberg sisters were among the youngest of the victims, having been on the plane with their mom and dad.

May all the victims rest in peace.

Remembering 9/11/01

I'll never forget that morning. Like any other work day, my alarm went off to news radio. I quickly realized it was no ordinary work day when I heard the somber announcement that one of the World Trade Center towers had collapsed after a terrorist attack. It couldn't be true, so we dashed off to the living room to see the horrifying reality before our very eyes. A few moments later, tower #2 went down.

Like everyone else that day, I was shocked. I was horrified. I was scared. Hearing that the attackers also crashed a plane into the Pentagon, it made me wonder, what targets on the west coast were going to be hit? Was L.A. to be targeted as well? Surely we wouldn't escape this tragedy. In the end, we all felt the loss.

James near the World Trade Center. (1996)
James near the World Trade Center. (1996)

More than anything, the biggest loss that day was the nearly 3,000 people that died in the World Trade Center, the four planes and the Pentagon. But when I came across these old slides of a visit to New Jersey in 1996, it made me realize how much I miss seeing the World Trade Center. May it always be remembered.