Survivors and dignitaries helped dedicate the first permanent memorial to the 184 victims of the American Airlines Flight 77 crash at the Pentagon.
"The day will come when most Americans have no memory of Sept. 11," said President Bush during the ceremony on the seventh anniversary of the attacks. "When they visit this memorial, they will leam the 21st century began with a great struggle between the forces of freedom and the forces of terror."
The Pentagon Memorial contains 184 markers, each of which is dedicated to an individual victim by its unique placement within the collective field.
The field is organized as a timeline of the victims' ages, moving from the youngest - 3-year-old Dana Falkenberg - to the oldest - John D. Yamnicky 71.
Each individual marker is specifically positioned to distinguish victims on board the plane from those killed in the Pentagon. The tributes representing the 59 lives lost on the airplane are positioned so that visitors will face the sky when reading the name.
When standing at a marker dedicated to a victim who was inside the Pentagon, visitors see the individual's name and the Pentagon in the same view.
Each marker is at once a glowing light pool, a cantilevered bench and a place for permanent inscription of each victim's name.
The memorial was designed by Keith Kaseman and Julie Beckman, who together won a blind design competition for the memorial.
At the dedication ceremony on the anniversary, Beckman observed children too young to remember the attacks playing on the memorial benches and called the scene "beautiful."
"Even for all the pain, it heals us to come back here and reflect on the suffering and the sacrifice of that day," said Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The memorial is open to the public 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It's located at the southwest corner of the Pentagon grounds, with pedestrian access from the nearby Pentagon or Pentagon City Metro stops.
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Source: National Guard