Officials Sign Contract for Pentagon Memorial
By K.L. Vantran
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Aug. 15, 2003 Another milestone in the Pentagon Memorial project, which will honor the 184 lives lost in the Sept. 11, 2001, attack, was reached today as military officials signed a contract to construct the memorial.
"This is a big day for us all," said Michael Sullivan, Pentagon Renovation Program manager, as he introduced the individuals who would sign the contract. "We've been waiting for this moment. We're ready to move forward now. This is a team effort and will remain a team effort until the day we dedicate the memorial."
Rosemary Dillard, who spoke on behalf of the family members, agreed. "This means an awful lot to us," added Dillard, who serves as vice president, Pentagon Memorial Fund, Inc. "To be teamed up with PENREN has been so exciting. They've made sure that this is a team effort. I don't want to get emotional, but I jut want to tell you America, we thank you. We know this means as much to you as it does to us."
The contractors said they are honored to be a part of such a project. "We're awed by this," said Jeff Lee, president of Lee and Associates, part of the contract team of Centex Lee LLC.
Bidding on the project was never a business proposition, noted John Tarpey, president and chief executive officer of Centex Construction, the other partner. "This was all about being a part of this (memorializing victims)," he added. "Our teams came together and put in a lot of time and effort and obviously it paid off. We're just thrilled to be a part of the actual design and construction and bringing it to reality."
As the project moves forward, Ralph Newton, the Pentagon's acting director of real estate and facilities, said it's important to reflect on the project's purpose.
"It's to show the proper respect and to memorialize the lives lost on that day innocent victims of a horrendous act," he said. "As we go forward, we can take joy in the jobs that we do to bring this wonderful memorial to fruition."
Army retiree Abraham Scott, who lost his wife Janice Marie on that fateful day, said he believes the memorial will not only bring comfort but will also be a place for all to visit and remember those who perished.
"Her memory and the other 183 victims will be memorialized for eternity," he added.
The memorial will feature 184 lighted benches, one dedicated to each victim. It will be built on nearly two acres near the spot where the attack occurred on the Pentagon.
The benches will be made of "cast, clear anodized aluminum polyester," according to a DoD news release. They will be positioned according to the victims' ages, from 3 to 71. Each will have a glowing light pool set underneath. The memorial will also feature trees to provide shading and a more intimate atmosphere.
The contractor will further develop the technical aspects of the winning concept design by architects Julie Beckman and Keith Kaseman, and construct the Pentagon Memorial, according to a DoD news release.
Construction will be funded by private donations. It will be completed about 20 months after enough funding is available to begin the first phase. The amount needed to begin work is $1.5 million. Money raised to date is $125,000.
Access information on donations online at the Pentagon Memorial Fund [http://memorial.pentagon.mil] Web site. Mail donations to P.O. Box 6285, Arlington, Va. 22206.