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Nonprofit Group Raises $8 Million for Pentagon Memorial

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 9, 2005 – A nonprofit organization has raised $8 million for the construction of a memorial to remember the 184 people who lost their lives during the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack on the Pentagon.

Fundraising for the memorial "is coming along great," Pentagon Memorial Fund President James J. Laychak said during a recent Pentagon Channel interview. More than $8 million has been collected since fundraising officially commenced in April 2004, he said.

After the attack, Congress authorized Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld to build a permanent memorial on the Pentagon grounds.

About $18 million of collected funds will be used to build the memorial, which will be located near the place where the terrorist-hijacked airliner impacted the Pentagon at the building's west wall. Laychak's younger brother, David, an Army civilian employee at the Pentagon, was killed in the terrorist attack.

Another $10 million in donations will be used to maintain the memorial, Laychak said.

The memorial will be constructed on a two-acre, park-like setting among maple trees and will feature 184 units to represent the 125 Pentagon military members and civilians and 59 aircraft passengers and crew who died.

Laychak, who has been involved with fundraising for the memorial since November 2001, said it would convey messages that "patriotism is kind of a moral duty" and "freedom comes at a price."

Groundbreaking for the memorial is envisioned sometime in the fall of 2006, with completion slated in the spring of 2008, Laychak said.

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