Saturday, March 7, 2009

from three to seventy-one

I happened to find myself with a little extra time this afternoon. There's been several occasions where I've tried to get to the Pentagon Memorial, only to be denied by poor planning on my part. When my folks were here for Thanksgiving, we discovered it's kind of tough to park on a military reservation without the proper credentials. With glorious weather today to boot, I found my way there with the help of Metro. It's apparently the only way to get there easily. I would've ridden my bike, but that's a little treacherous on the roads I'd have chosen.

Anyhow, it was a moving experience to say the least. Check my photos once I post them tonight or tomorrow. There are 184 individual benches parallel to the path of Flight 77 as it made its fatal descent into the Pentagon. The names are organized by the youngest victim at the entrance (Dana Falkenberg, born 1998) to the oldest in the back (Capt. John D. Yamnicky, Sr., born 1930). The tightest cluster with moving water moving emotions is centered with men and women who would've been in their late 30s and early 40s. A fair number of military officers, several enlisted non-commissioned officers and staff NCOs, but the bulk were the victims on the flight.

Mothers. Fathers. Brothers. Sisters. Adults. Children.

It brought back that same flood of emotions that I felt that cool summer morning in Florida. Shock. Heartbreak. Regardless of where you were on that day, that twinge of fear ran through all of us. Like our parents when they found out about JFK, we will always remember exactly where we were when we first heard.

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