In 2005, the First Mate and I had our most memorable Fourth of July experience ever: a guided tour of the Pentagon, conducted by a military officer who was an avid reader of Captain’s Quarters.  He walked us through the entire building — an amazing office complex — and spent hours with us away from his family so that we could enjoy our Independence Day on our first visit to the nation’s capital.  One particular part of the tour made a lasting impression on me.  In the area where the hijacked plane hit the Pentagon on 9/11, the Department of Defense created a memorial for all those who died that day in the service of their nation, and I was allowed to take some photos of the memorial area.

This is the chapel in the memorial.  The lights are kept low, and benches allow for prayer or contemplation:

This display notes that unlike most Purple Heart recipients, those who received this award on 9/11 did so defending our native soil.

It took me a couple of tries to get this shot without having glare bouncing back and obscuring the names of the lost and missing from 9/11.

This display holds books of remembrances of the fallen heroes at the Pentagon on 9/11.  The inscription at the top reads:

“On September 11, 2001, terrorists killed 184 innocent men, women, and children at the Pentagon.  They were husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, sisters and brothers, friends and loved ones.  In attacking them, terrorists aimed to frighten and divide; instead, the nation united as never before.  United in sorrow, yes, but also in determination … to defend this country, to defeat those who visited evil upon her, and in so doing, secure the blessings of liberty for future generations.  In this way America honors their sacrifice … and gives thanks for their lives.”

This display honors the civilian employees of the Pentagon who died on 9/11.  The DoD created this medal as a way to honor them, and to honor civilians who died in service to their nation in the future.

I would once again like to express my appreciation to the officer who gave us this guided tour, who wished to remain anonymous.