Service at the Pentagon
Vice President speaks at 9/11 memorial for Pentagon victims
|Vice President Dick Cheney, second left, and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, second right, stand during a memorial ceremony on September 11, 2006, at the Pentagon. (Photo: Charles Dharapak/AP Wide World)|
By Alonzo Webb
Scholastic Kids Press Corps
September 11, 2006
I attended the observance on Monday for the victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the Pentagon. Five years ago, American Airlines flight 77 crashed into the building, killing 184. On Monday, their family members and friends gathered to pay their respects.
The service included bagpipe music, the U.S. Army Band and Chorus, and speeches by Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Peter Pace. A moment of silence was observed at the time the plane hit.
The entire event was emotional for those attending. For me, the most moving part came in the Vice President’s speech when he recalled where he was and how he felt.
"We remember all that we saw, and heard, and felt on that Tuesday morning,” he said. "We will never forget the day the war began, or the way the war began," the Vice President said. "Our thoughts remain with the victims of 9/11. Our prayers remain with the families left behind."
He called 9/11 a day of national unity.
“The memories stay with all of us because the attack was directed at all of us,” he said. “The ones who were lost had begun that day just as you and I did—as free citizens of a peaceful country. They were busy with life. They had people who cared about them, people who depended on them, people who loved the sight of their face and the sound of their voice. They were unsuspecting of danger and undeserving of their fate. Each one of them had hopes and plans for the future. All of that was taken away by the wicked plans of a few men."
An honor guard made up of first responders on 9/11 carried the flags. Many of them lost family members and friends.
I interviewed two of the people who came for the service.
Beatrice Woolen, sister of Sergeant Tamara C. Thurman, said that in the past five years, her life has changed a lot. She tries to keep the courage and drive to keep on going.
Debbie Wagner is an active employee at the Pentagon. She was in the building during the attack. She said she believes in the military more than ever, and wants children not to be afraid.
The Pentagon was totally rebuilt and repaired within eight months of the attack. Construction on a permanent memorial began recently, but won’t be completed until the seventh anniversary, in 2008.
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
This year marks the fifth anniversary of the attacks on September 11, 2001. A group called myGoodDeed.org is encouraging people to remember 9/11 by doing a good deed.
How will you remember 9/11?
Join the discussion.