Tours to Offer Rare Glimpse of Pentagon to Public
By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Sep. 6, 2007 As it has for the past two years to mark the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the Pentagon will open its doors Sept. 8 and 9 for brief public tours.
The tours, part of Sept. 11 commemorative events that include the Sept. 9 America Supports You Freedom Walk, will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 8 and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sept. 9, Air Force Tech. Sgt. Joshua Hodgin, director of the Pentagon’s tour program, said.
America Supports You is a Defense Department program connecting citizens and corporations with military personnel and their families serving at home and abroad.
“(It’s) going to be a tour of the crash site area and the indoor memorial,” Hodgin said. He also noted that the chapel adjacent to the indoor memorial will be open as well.
Visitors will have the chance to view the indoor memorial and the site of the outdoor memorial. The site, now under construction, will honor passengers and Pentagon employees killed when American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the building.
“It’s to kind of take you back to remember what actually happened that day,” Hodgin said. “When you go into the memorial, all those memories (and) where people were that day, all that comes back.
“For people to reflect on that is very important for our nation to understand why it is we’re overseas and why our troops are over there doing what they’re doing,” he added.
Tour guides will be on hand to direct visitors to the tour’s starting point at the 3rd Corridor entrance, where they’ll pass through a quick security scan, Hodgin said.
Small bags will go through an X-ray machine, and large bags are not allowed to be carried on the tour. Also, once in the building, the use of restrooms and drinking fountains will not be allowed, nor will the use of any electronic devices, including cell phones or cameras.
Metro Rail is the suggested method of transportation for those wishing to take the tour, as parking on the Pentagon reservation is restricted.
“We’re easily expecting 5,000 people to come through over the weekend,” said Marine Maj. Chris Devine, officer in charge of the Pentagon tour program.
He said that expectation is on par with last year’s numbers.
“It’s a great opportunity to see the 9/11 memorial and the chapel and see what we’re doing,” he said.