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Relatives Tour Pentagon Memorial Site


As the sixth anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks on the United States approaches, a memorial is rising on the grounds of the Pentagon near Washington, D.C. Family members of those aboard the hijacked plane that struck the Pentagon -- and the military and civilian personnel who died inside -- gathered Friday (September 7th) at the site. VOA's Robert Raffaele has more.

The new memorial will honor the 59 passengers and crewmembers of American Airlines Flight 77 -- and the 125 people who died inside the Pentagon. The Pentagon Memorial park will consist of 184 separate units, honoring each victim. Each unit will face a specific direction -- to symbolically distinguish the victims of Flight 77 from those who died inside the Pentagon.

The arrangement of the units will form a timeline - representing the various ages of the victims -- from 71 to three years old.

For the victims' families and other survivors the memorial is a solemn labor of love.

Rosemary Dillard lost her husband on Flight 77. "Everyone needs to be reminded of that day. Even 100 years from now. Our freedom is important. And we hope that when people come to this memorial that they will remember their freedom."

Thomas Heidenberger lost his wife Michelle, a flight attendant aboard Flight 77.

"It gives all America a place to pay tribute to the sacrifice of not just the 184 [victims] here at the Pentagon, but the 3,000 victims of that day."

Officials say that construction is more than 50 percent complete. The memorial park is scheduled to be finished in time for next year's anniversary of the attacks.

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