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Pentagon Memorial Remembers Victims of 9/11 Attacks

Seven years have passed since the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States. About 3,000 people died in the coordinated attacks that brought down the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York, left the Pentagon badly damaged and a smoldering gash in a Pennsylvania field where the final hijacked airliner crashed after passengers fought the hijackers.
On Thursday, September 11th, the victims of the attack on the Pentagon will be remembered at the dedication of the Pentagon Memorial. VOA's Monaliza Noormohammadi reports.

The Pentagon Memorial is opening September 11, 2008 to honor the lives that were lost on that date seven years ago.

The privately financed Pentagon Memorial Fund has raised approximately $21 million for the completion of this project.

Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Brian Maka said, "We wanted people to fully understand and know that we would never forget these attacks and the people who died on that day."

Kathy Dillaber survived the Pentagon attack but her sister Patty was killed.

"I wish it wasn't here," she said, "but it is and that's the way it is so I want to honor Patty's memory. They've done a beautiful job with the design. I want to honor the memory of my co-workers, they were all incredibly good people."

The memorial's design was chosen through an international competition won by Keith Kaseman and his wife Julie Beckman.

"We wanted it to be like no other simply because that day was like no other," Kaseman said. "It should be both individual and collective in nature, and ultimately it should be imbedded with enough hints and clues that begin to tell the story of the people who lost their lives. And make you think -- but not prescribe how to think or what to feel."

The memorial's focus is 184 benches built over a pool of water - 59 of the benches face the Pentagon representing the passengers killed on American Airlines Flight 77. The remaining 125 benches face the opposite direction memorializing those killed within the building. Each is engraved with the name of one of the people killed that day at the Pentagon.

The president of the Pentagon Memorial Fund, James J. Laychak, lost his brother during the attack on the Pentagon.

"There are different people in this world but that doesn't make us different," he said. "We all have the same things, we all have family, we all have moms and dads, and brothers and sisters; so I'm hoping that this place will help us respect people a little bit more, and respect the differences we have in the world."

Organizers are expecting thousands of people to be on hand when the memorial is dedicated.