Thursday, September 18, 2014

when in virginia... visit the pentagon memorial



thirteen years ago, i was sitting in art class when we heard the news about two planes crashing into the world trade center towers. time stopped. the school went into a lockdown and we turned on the tv. shortly thereafter we heard that another plane had crashed into the pentagon, less than 15 miles away.  students started to panic; many of their parents worked at the pentagon. it had been years since my mother had worked at the pentagon, but she still worked for the department of defense and often had meetings there. no one's cellphone worked, so i had to call from a school phone, but i finally got through to her office where a gruff man told me she was ok. she was doing the same thing we all were doing, standing around her office watching tv, seeing the smoke out of her office window. i found out later that my dad had been on his way to work, driving right by the pentagon, when he found out what had happened from a truck driver; he'd been on his motorcycle in the stopped traffic and had no access to the radio, but he also saw the smoke. and possibly most terrifying, my stepfather was in a plane, flying back to dc, when the news broke. his plane was rerouted to dulles airport, slightly farther away from washington dc than national airport, and sat on the tarmac for hours until they let people deplane and figure out a way home. it was a scary, sad time. 

the pentagon 9/11 memorial, however, is a beacon of hope. it is a beautiful, contemplative place surrounded by crepe myrtle trees. the memorial benches are positioned to distinguish who was in the pentagon and who was on the plane at the time of the crash, and victims can be located by their names and ages at the beginning of the memorial. additionally, you can see the distinct line where the pentagon has been rebuilt. take a few minutes to walk around the memorial, remember those who died there, and remember those who sacrifice daily to fight for our rights and freedoms.