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The 9/11 Memorial at the Pentagon

The 9/11 Memorial at the Pentagon is the first national memorial dedicated to the tragic events of September 11 2001. It is located in Arlington Virginia, just a few miles away from Washington DC. The Pentagon Memorial, located southwest of The Pentagon and is a permanent outdoor memorial to the 184 people who died as victims in the building and on American Airlines Flight 77 during the September 11 attacks. People wishing to pay their respects can visit the memorial. The Memorial is open seven days a week, year-round. It is also the only place on the Pentagon grounds where photography by the public is permitted.

9 11 memorial at the pentagon

My Visit to Washington DC and the 9/11 Memorial at the Pentagon

  • Time needed: About an hour
  • Cost: Free
  • Hours of Operation: 24 hours
  • Address: 1 Rotary Road in Arlington, Virginia
  • How to get there: Bus or ride share. Please be aware there is no public parking at the Pentagon or Pentagon memorial. The only way to get there is public transit, taxi or ride share.

I recently had the opportunity to visit Alexandria Virginia and Washington DC to attend a blogging conference. When I travel for work I like to make sure take the time to do as much sightseeing as possible. I was only in town for four days and most of that time was spent at the conference I was attending. I had never traveled to this part of the country before and was surprised at just how many interesting things there are to do and see in DC.

For those who don’t know I was born in Canada and moved to the US about 10 years ago when I  got married. I am in the process of obtaining my citizenship and one of my goals has been to go to DC and check out the White House and all the historic monuments when I am granted citizenship. This trip was kind of a last minute opportunity. Someone I know had to sell their ticket to the conference so I snapped it up and started packing my bags.

I had a few free hours after one of my seminars so my friend Meredith of Vid Pro Mom (who was also attending the conference) and I headed over to the Pentagon memorial and the Arlington Cemetery (it’s only about 5 minutes away from the Pentagon so if you are in the area you should definitely try to make your way there too).

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My 9/11 Story

I was 16 and still living in British Columbia, Canada when 9/11 happened. I remember waking up in the morning to the sound of my radio alarm clock and the radio station DJs were talking about how the towers had been hit and at least one had collapsed at that point in the morning.

That day at school all we did in every class was watch the news. I was too young to really understand the gravity of the situation but I recall all the adults being extremely worried. The adults freaking out was such big deal because we were all Canadians and this was an event that didn’t even happen in our country. I can’t even imagine what it was like for Americans or people living in the areas that were targeted by terrorists.

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memorial bench at 9/11 memorial at the pentagon
This bench has the name of the person killed during the terrorist attack and the name of their family member who was also killed on the bottom.

The Pentagon Memorial

I always find it very surreal visiting places like the Pentagon Memorial. Just standing there looking at the Pentagon knowing what an important part of the government it is and that I have heard about all my life and then standing at the spot where an airplane had literally crashed into the building.

It seems almost incomprehensible that those events could have happened.  It definitely humanizes the whole thing and makes it more real rather than just an image we see in books or on TV.

The Pentagon Memorial was constructed from a design by Julie Beckman and Keith Kaseman of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with design support from Buro Happold, that was chosen following a design competition.

The design competition included a group of 11 judges, including Terence Riley, the chief curator of architecture and design at the Museum of Modern Art, and two former secretaries of defense, Melvin Laird and Harold Brown. They viewed 1,126 memorial proposals from around the world

The memorial is very moving and interesting. It was very thoughtfully put together. Part of it was under construction when I visited but we could still check out the areas with the benches and water features.

FAQ About the Pentagon 9/11 Memorial

What does the Pentagon memorial symbolize?

The memorial’s benches are arranged facing opposite directions along the flight path of the doomed plane. The 125 benches facing the Pentagon, memorialize victims who died in the building. The benches are arranged by the year of birth of the victims.

What flight crashed into the Pentagon?

American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the west wall of Pentagon. U.S. American Airlines Flight 77 was a scheduled American Airlines domestic transcontinental passenger flight from Washington Dulles International Airport in Dulles, Virginia, to Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles, California.

How many benches are there in the Pentagon Memorial?

The 125 benches facing the Pentagon, memorialize victims who died in the building. Looking at one of these benches, a visitor will see their engraved name and the Pentagon in the same view.

Can you take pictures at the Pentagon Memorial?

You are free to photograph within the Memorial, but the rest of the Pentagon reservation is strictly a no-photography zone. But taking photos within the Memorial is fine.

Can you go into the Pentagon?

Pentagon Tours must be requested in advance! You may request tickets from 14 days up to 90 days prior to the tour. Requests will not be accepted within 13 days of the tour. If you know someone who works at the Pentagon and they have a Pentagon badge, you can take a self-guided tour of the Pentagon with them.

Is there public parking at the Pentagon?

Public parking is not available at the Pentagon. Visitors may opt to park at the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City, also known as Pentagon City mall. The Pentagon is less than a five minute walk from the mall and can be reached through a pedestrian tunnel. Once through the tunnel, look for signs to the Metro entrance.

Have you visited the 9/11 Memorial at the Pentagon? Tell me about your experience in the comments!

9/11 memorial at the pentagon graphic

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