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DoD Artists Designed Pentagon Sept. 11 Interior Memorial

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 6, 2002 -- The military and civilian victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attac, May 6, 2002 – are silver-etched into inch- thick, black acrylic plastic panels, Tabone noted.

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Director of DoD Graphics Kathleen Brassell (right) and her assistant JulieAnne Tabone stand next to their handiwork, "America's Heroes," a memorial dedicated to the 184 military and civilian victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack on the Pentagon. The memorial is located on the third floor of the Pentagon near the A Ring at the intersection of Corridors 9 and 10. DoD Photo.

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"We think it's a little bit reminiscent of the Vietnam War Memorial Wall-style, where you can actually go and take a rubbing of the person's name," she said. Displayed on two separate black panels are the Purple Heart and the Defense of Freedom Medals, which were awarded to the military members and the DoD civilian employees who died, respectively.

In the days immediately following the Pentagon attack, Brassell and Tabone said they spent long hours helping out at DoD's Family Counseling Center in nearby Arlington, Va. The graphic artists noticed that family members of victims began leaving photos and other mementos of their lost loved ones on tables at the center.

The two artists hatched the idea creating a display using the photos and victims' biographies. Brassell said those materials were arranged onto three large panels which were displayed at the Oct. 11 Pentagon memorial ceremony. Those panels, she added, were later displayed inside the building.

Around that same time, Cooke asked the pair if they could create a more permanent memorial to replace the three panels and also the countless cards, banners, letters, flags, paintings, quilts and other items from well-wishers that were exhibited on hallway walls throughout the building, Brassell said.

The two designers brainstormed the memorial design in a week. Brassell praised her "great staff" and contractors' expertise as valuable assets in creating the memorial, adding that it was an emotional project for all involved.

"You feel so much for the families," she said. "We're contributing to help somebody to show that we care."

Local contractors, Brassell said, built the $75,000 memorial from the two designers' specifications. It can be disassembled for ease of movement, if necessary. Families of victims of the Sept. 11 attack received a private preview of the memorial May 4, she noted. The memorial will be included as part of the Pentagon's public tour.

The memorial also features excerpts from President Bush and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld from the Oct. 11, 2001 Pentagon service. At the center of the memorial, below the "United in Memory" seal and an etched-script, "A Grateful Nation Remembers," is a book containing names, photographs and biographies of the victims.

Tabone said the book also contains photos of the mementos sent to the Pentagon from people across the United States and around the world. Some of the actual mementos will be exhibited alongside the interior memorial from time to time.

"You feel as though you're stepping into a memorial rather than stepping into a display or exhibit. It's very different from the other environments in the building," she added.

The Pentagon's interior memorial "puts a face to the name" of each person lost in the attack, Tabone remarked, adding that 20 years from now, Americans will remember the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on New York, Pennsylvania and the Pentagon.

"But this memorial brings it back to those 184 people who lost their lives here and what their story was, and what they looked like," she concluded.


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Click photo for screen-resolution imageDoD's Defense of Freedom Medal, as depicted at the Pentagon's interior memorial, was awarded to government civilian employees who were victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack on the Pentagon. DoD Photo.  
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Click photo for screen-resolution imageDirector of DoD Graphics Kathleen Brassell (right) and her assistant JulieAnne Tabone, look at the memorial book of military and civilian victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack on the Pentagon. The book contains biographies and photos of the victims of the attack. DoD Photo.  
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