September 11, 2001

Freedom itself was attacked this morning by a faceless coward and freedom will be defended...make no mistake, we will show the world that we will pass this test.
George W. Bush

Exactly 60 years to the day after the ground-breaking ceremony, the September 11, 2001 attacks occurred. American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the west side of the Pentagon after being hijacked, killing all aboard as well as over a hundred people within the Pentagon. The flight penetrated three of the five rings of the Pentagon.

Because the affected area was under renovation at the time, several offices were unoccupied, sparing many lives. The aircraft struck on the edge between two sections, one of which had just finished being upgraded. Part of the pre-attack renovation had involved adding improved security features, including walls and windows with greater blast resistance. An initial analysis suggested that the section's improvements had saved lives, enabling more people to evacuate.

The 9/11 Memorial was established to commemorate the lives of the 184 people who died on American Airlines Flight 77 and in the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. Ground breaking for the Memorial began on June 15, 2006; the site was dedicated two years later on September 11, 2008. The Memorial situated on a two-acre plot at the southwest Wedge 1 corner of the Pentagon Reservation where American Airlines Flight 77 struck the Pentagon. The Memorial cost an estimated $36 million to construct. The Memorial is open 24 hours a day but is subject to varying Pentagon Force Protection Levels.