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 groundbreaking 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.
Contractors involved in the Pentagon Renovation Program were also charged with the task of rebuilding the damaged section of the Pentagon following the attacks. This additional project was named the "Phoenix Project", with the goal of having the outermost offices in the damaged section occupied again by September 11, 2002. 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.
Repairs included demolition of the damaged areas, complete rebuilding of the area that had previously been renovated, and reconstruction of the shell of the unrenovated section. The first Pentagon tenants whose offices were damaged in the attack began moving back in on August 15, 2002, nearly a month ahead of schedule. The repairs cost the Department of Defense about $500,000,000. Before the September 11, 2001 attacks, an escalator ran from the Metro station to the Pentagon lobby. After the attack this escalator was blocked off and later removed as part of the Pentagon Renovation Program.
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.