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Pentagon Memorial Needs Extra Effort to Meet Campaign Goal

By Sgt. 1st Class Doug Sample
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 5, 2003 – The campaign goal to raise $1 million for a Sept. 11 victim's memorial at the Pentagon is hundreds of thousands of dollars short. The campaign, which started July 21 ends Aug. 8.

"Right now we're nowhere close," said Steve Kelly of the Volunteer Campaign Management Office for the Pentagon Memorial Fundraiser. "Now is the time to give."

The $1 million is needed so that engineers and architects at the Pentagon Renovation Program can begin the memorial's design and engineering phase. DoD officials plan to have the Pentagon Memorial completed by the spring of 2005.

During the past three weeks, Kelly and about 20 campaign managers from agencies in and near the Pentagon have been frantically handing out flyers, either in person or electronically, to persuade the Pentagon's more than 25,000 employees and those nearby to give to a worthy cause.

"They are all trying to get the word out in collecting money," he said. Through Friday, Kelly plans to set up donation tables at the Pentagon center courtyard and on the main concourse. Those outside the building should see their agency's campaign managers. Or they and those outside the metropolitan area should send checks to:

Director, Budget and Finance, WHS Attn: Pentagon Memorial, Room 3B269, 1155 Defense Pentagon Washington, D.C. 20301-1155.

Although it formally ends Aug. 8, Kelly said the $1 million campaign drive will accept contributions until Aug. 15. After then, he said that donors should access the memorial's Web site. "Anyone can give," he said.

Over the next two years, the Pentagon Memorial Campaign is hoping to raise $20 million to cover the project's cost. DoD officials have said between $10 to 12 million will go toward construction and the rest will be used for maintenance.

The memorial will be built on nearly two acres of land on the Pentagon's west side along the path of American Airlines Flight 77 just before it hit the building.

Kelly said that he remains hopeful that this will be a big week for contributions. "We could be kicking in a lot of money by Friday," he noted.

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld taped a message July 31encouraging people to donate to the campaign. "In the years ahead, millions of Americans will see this moving memorial and think back to what happened on Sept. 11," he stated. "And they will remember our brave men and women in uniform who rose to the challenge in the months that followed. They will be reminded that our country cannot be free unless we are strong."

Rumsfeld observed that Jim Laychak whose brother died in the attack, said it well at the campaign's kick-off. He quoted Laychak as saying, "We have one chance to do this right - a chance to build a great memorial, a place of remembrance for those who died, a place of comfort for those of us left behind."

The Pentagon Memorial will be constructed entirely from private contributions. Rumsfeld said no tax dollars will be involved in the building of this memorial, "so we need volunteers to step up."

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Related Sites:
Secretary of Defense Pentagon Memorial Fundraiser

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Secretary Asks Volunteers to 'Step Up' to Pentagon Memorial Fundraiser

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