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Groundbreaking Begins for Pentagon Memorial

Work has begun on a memorial to the people killed in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the Pentagon.

US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld unveiled a marker on the grounds of the Pentagon, across the Potomac river from Washington, honoring the 184 people who lost their lives that day.

An emotional Rumsfeld, wiping a tear from his eye, told a gathering of officials, donors and relatives and friends of the victims that those killed did not die in vain, and that their countrymen will be unyielding in their quest for peace.

Rumsfeld was in the Pentagon when a hijacked commercial airliner slammed into it. He helped with relief efforts, carrying some of the wounded on stretchers.

The memorial, covering nearly a hectare on the Pentagon grounds, will be a series of benches arching over small reflecting pools, shaded by trees. The names and birth dates of the victims will be inscribed on the benches.

Organizers have raised more than $10 million of the estimated $22-million construction cost. The planners hope to raise an additional $10 million to provide for maintenance of the grounds.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.