America Supports You: Foundation Helps 9/11 Families, Memorial
By Steven Donald Smith
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, May. 24, 2005 David Minyard appreciates the letters of gratitude he has received for his volunteer work at the Pentagon. However, adulation is not his intent.
David Minyard, of Eagle's Watch Foundation, often plays his guitar at the Pentagon 9-11 Memorial. Courtesy photo
(Click photo for screen-resolution image)
Minyard founded the Eagle's Watch Foundation to bring hope and encouragement to those who lost loved ones in the terrorist attack on the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, he said.
"This started as a result of my interest in taking care of those who are dealing with the events of Sept. 11," Minyard said.
The foundation also helps maintain the 9/11 Memorial in the Pentagon and has donated more than 100 Washington Nationals baseball tickets to family members of servicemembers.
The memorial, which is located inside the Pentagon, contains large black tablets etched with the names of the 184 victims of American Airlines Flight 77's crash into the building.
Pencils and commemorative tracing paper are provided onsite, so visitors can make rubbings of names.
Minyard often comes in on weekends to refill the supply of tracing paper, sharpen the pencils and add new paper to the sign-in book, as well as to restock the memorial literature, he said.
In the Pentagon Chapel, which is adjacent to the memorial, Minyard prays for those who died in the attack and for their families, he said.
A large piece of stained glass hangs behind the chapel altar.
"The stained glass in the Pentagon Chapel was handcrafted by the family members and loved ones of those who were lost. There is a red piece of glass around the perimeter for each person who died at the Pentagon," Minyard said.
Minyard also hands out informational brochures at the Navy Reflection Room, he said. That room is dedicated to the 42 individuals who died in the Navy Operations Center in the Pentagon on Sept. 11.
For his efforts, Minyard has received several letters of thanks, including those from Virginia Sen. George Allen; Sgt. Maj. of the Army Kenneth O. Preston; and Army Col. Steven P. Bucci, military assistant to the secretary of defense.
"David provides a low-key but very important ministry of intercession and support to the immediate office of the secretary," Bucci wrote. "Using regular but informal stop-bys, David has provided encouragement and exhortation through offers of help, prayer and simple friendship for all."
"The support you provide on a daily basis to the soldiers and civilians at the Pentagon is priceless," Preston's letter states.
Fund raising and site preparation for the full-scale outdoor Pentagon 9/11 Memorial are currently under way. The memorial will feature 184 illuminated benches, arranged according to the victim's age, from 3 to 71. There will also be a reflecting pool under each bench. The memorial will be built on 1.93 acres of land on the southwest corner of the Pentagon Reservation. The memorial is being financed exclusively with gifts and contributions.
Completion of the project is "directly tied to the availability of funds and due to the special nature of the project, we want to build it right the first time rather than rush to an arbitrary completion date," noted Brett Eaton, communications officer for DoD's Washington Headquarters Services.