Remains of Pentagon Attack Victims Buried at Arlington
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY, Va., Sept. 12, 2002 Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said here today those killed in the Pentagon attack "died because they were Americans. Put another way, they died because they were part of a nation that believes in freedom."
Youngsters look at the Vermont granite memorial group marker in Section 64 at Arlington National Cemetery that lists the names of all 184 victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack on the Pentagon. Photo by Rudi Williams.
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Rumsfeld spoke at the cemetery's amphitheater at the Armed Forces Funeral Sept. 12. It was the first such funeral in the amphitheater since the one held for the Vietnam War Unknown in 1984.
The casket contained the remains of many individuals killed that day. Some of the remains are those of women and children, but could not be associated with specific individuals. Others belong to identified persons whose families directed that any additional remains identified be included in the group burial. These families had taken partial remains for burial last fall, MDW officials said.
The group burial was in Section 64 of the cemetery, overlooking the Pentagon. A special headstone marks the spot.
Especially honored in the service were the families of five of the dead who did not receive remains. They were: 3-year-old Dana Falkenberg, a passenger aboard Flight 77; James T. Lynch, a Navy civilian; Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Ronald Hemenway; Rhonda S. Rasmussen, an Army employee; and Army Col. (ret.) Ronald F. Golinski.
"We remember with special love the five whose remains were not recovered and their families and friends who were denied the peace that comes with placing loved ones in their final place of rest," Rumsfeld said. "This day these five join the unknowns of past wars even as we pursue the war that is still unfolding."
Rumsfeld said the 184 Americans who died at the Pentagon did so because they believed in a generous creed of life and "not the twisted views of those who use a noble religion to try to mask their will to power."
He said they died because of where they worked. He said the Pentagon is a symbol of this generous creed and way of life. "A symbol of military power, to be sure, but power used to right wrong, to do good, to help achieve a more perfect day when nations might live in peace," he said.
The secretary told the families that there is nothing anyone can do to bring back their loved ones. "But we can celebrate who they were, how they lived their lives and remember how their lives were lost," he said.
"They will be remembered," Rumsfeld assured the families. "We will not forget. Know your country shares your sorrow, mourns your loss and prays that God will comfort you.
"May God grant them and you his loving peace."