Pentagon memorial design chosen; project to be complete by Sept. 11

Rows of 184 benches facing west will be constructed as part of a memorial to those who died in the September 11 attacks at the Pentagon, officials announced Wednesday. In the memorial plan, the 16-foot-long benches will be placed only 60 yards from the point of impact where the hijacked plane hit the Pentagon.

Shaded by trees, each bench will hover over a narrow light pool, which will be lit by halogen lights built into the sleek aluminum seats. A victim’s name will be inscribed on the side of each bench, and the placement will be arranged by age of the victims, ranging from 3 to 71. The benches will face west because that’s the direction the plane was flying when it struck. Bench positions will differ slightly depending on whether a victim was on the plane or in the building.

The design of the memorial, created by New York architects Julie Beckman and Keith Kaseman, was chosen out of 1,100 entries in a design contest. The design was chosen because of its attempt to commemorate the lives of the people while symbolically telling the story of the event.

“The thing I like about it was it was a collective memorial and an individual memorial, yet it told the story of what happened on that day,” Jim Laychak, a member of the victims’ family steering committee, told The Washington Post.

Officials overseeing the memorial project are hoping that it will be completed by Sept. 11 of next year. The project will not be funded by federal money, but rather by contributions. The total expected cost is estimated to range from $4.9 million to $7.4 million.