Secretary of Defense Pentagon Memorial Fundraiser

Department of Defense employees are helping to raise funds to build and maintain the Pentagon Memorial dedicated to September 11th. While this is not an official DoD solicitation — it is totally voluntary — I do want to say that this effort has my enthusiastic personal support.

The campaign is sponsored by the DoD Personnel Pentagon Memorial Organization, a voluntary association of civilian and military personnel. The memorial will honor the 184 fallen comrades who perished in the attack on the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001.

It will be built on nearly two acres of land on the west side of the building along the path that American Airlines Flight 77 took just before it hit the Pentagon. The display will have 184 benches with the name of each victim — ranging from age 3 to age 71 — engraved on a bench.

In the years ahead, millions of Americans will see this moving memorial and think back to what happened on September 11th. And they will remember our brave men and women in uniform who rose to the challenge in the months that followed. They will be reminded that our country cannot be free unless we are strong.

Mr. Jim Laychak, whose brother died in the attack, said it well at the campaign kick-off. He said, "We have one chance to do this right . . . a chance to build a great memorial, a place of remembrance for those who died, a place of comfort for those of us left behind.”

No tax dollars will be involved in the building of this memorial, so we need volunteers to step up.

Let us never forget those who gave their lives for the cause of liberty.

Thank you very much.

Donald H. Rumsfeld