09/11/08 04:27 PM
I don’t know why, but for some reason this September 11th anniversary was extra sad to me, I had a lump in throat all morning. Perhaps it was because of that solemn and symbolic memorial ceremony I watched on T.V. from the Pentagon. There was a day that I would describe our nation’s funerals as “cookie cutter.” Six pallbearers, Amazing Grace and How Great Thou Art, the person in a casket wearing a suit they had worn maybe two other times in their life and put a sticky note on in the closet that marked it, “funeral suit.” But not anymore. The general public has figured about that personalization is the key to a meaningful ceremony, and thankfully so has our government. The Pentagon Memorial has managed to personally memorialize each of the 184 victims for who they were as individuals, not how they died as a group.
The symbolic imagery was amazing. Here’s a few facts:
• The gray concrete wall rises three inches tall at its beginning, symbolic of the youngest person who died there; three year old Dana Falkenberg, and continues to the height of 71 inches, representing the oldest victim, 71 year old retired U.S. Nacy Capt. John D. Yamnicky St.
• The centotaph in the entrance reads, “September 11 , 2001- 9:27 a.m.”
• The stone used came from the ruins of the Pentagon, still stained with burn marks.
• 184 bench-like structures, each dedicated for a victim are laid out in a pattern according to the year each victim was born, from 1988 to 1930.
• A small pool of water beneath each bench fountains to adds comfort and tranquility.
• The names on the benches face the direction the person died; if on the plane then toward the western sky, if in the Pentagon then toward the building, the east.
But perhaps the most beautiful thing the memorial brings us is simple a place to go and remember, the symbolism of the cemetery; a place to go, and remember.
To see pictures of the memorial or make a contribution visit http://memorial.pentagon.mil/. The memorial was built with 100% private funds and now the perpetual care funds are needed.