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Quiet Remembrance at Pentagon Memorial

by ARLnow.com May 2, 2011 at 3:45 am 6,542 23 Comments

In contrast to the noisy, jubilant celebration at the White House, the scene at the Pentagon Memorial last night was one of quiet remembrance.

About two dozen visitors trickled in to the memorial following the announcement that Osama bin Laden had been killed by American forces in Pakistan. As visitors strolled the dimly-lit grounds, only the peaceful sound of bubbling water could be heard. The sound came from small pools below each of the memorial’s 184 benches, which represent the 184 people killed during the bin Laden-orchestrated attack on the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001.

Two visitors said they came to the Pentagon seeking a deeper connection to the evening’s news.

“The celebrations over at the White House didn’t fully capture the emotions of the night,” said Crystal Adams, of the District. Fellow District resident Brian Chiglinsky agreed.

“It felt like this was the place for a more solemn remembrance about the importance of tonight and what this past decade has meant to our generation,” he said.


  • Michael H.

    Many of us here were probably in Arlington that day almost a decade ago. I didn’t hear the initial crash but I saw the column of smoke rising from the Pentagon that morning. I could also smell the smoldering rubble for several days afterward as the wind carried the smoke to the surrounding neighborhoods.

    My reaction is similar to those who had a somber reaction to yesterday’s news. I’m glad Bin Laden was finally caught but it doesn’t necessarily make me feel celebratory. There are still some nasty people out there (and probably some in the U.S. too) who want to continue Bin Laden’s “work” so the underlying threat of terrorism hasn’t ended. It doesn’t bring back those who died in 2001 either.

    But it’s good to have that part of the problem wrapped up finally. It shouldn’t change ongoing anti-terrorism efforts, but at least we no longer have that nagging question of “where is Bin Laden?”.

  • SoCo Resident

    Just a terribly sad moment thinking about the many, many innocent victims and their survivors whose lives have been torn apart.

  • Proud Patriot

    I think I heard the military shooting off canons to celebrate this morning! So COOL!!!!

  • Thanks for posting this article. I am overjoyed to hear we finally got Bin Laden.

    I still work at the same office building where I worked on 9-11. The AA plane flew right next to us, not above us, because it was flying very low and we are in a high rise. The sound of the plane’s engines was loud and terrifying, since we knew what had just happened in NYC.

    We were all near windows listening to news from NYC when the plane approached us, so I looked up high for a plane, not realizing, it was not up high in the sky, but very, very low to the ground. The shadow of the plane was huge on the asphalt below us.

    Within seconds I saw the crash into the Pentagon and the explosion. A horrible site that will remain in my memory forever.

    After the initial panic, the afternoon turned into a quiet one, except for the fighter planes flying above the city.

    God bless all those killed by this monster.

  • At last.

  • kc

    Shooting off the cannons was planned in advance (see article last Friday on this site). But I don’t doubt they felt a bit of special pride doing it this morning.

  • TGEoA

    Hopefully we will get Omar next. And not the one from The Wire.

  • dynaroo

    Well said.

  • dynaroo

    Well said, Michael H., I meant.

  • CW
  • Was definitely a quiet and reflective atmosphere at the Pentagon Memorial last night…a far cry from the ruckus outside the White House. Was down there myself last night meeting with a friend.

  • CrystalMikey

    Ding dong the witch is dead.

  • R.Griffon

    I’d gone to bed early last night and missed the whole thing entirely. But I was awoken by 2 loud bangs (which I initially thought were gunshots) followed by the unmistakable crackle of fireworks. I thought “What kind of moron is shooting fireworks late on a Sunday night?” and drifted back off to sleep. Of course now it all makes sense.

    I can’t say that I share the jubilance of the crowds downtown. While I am happy that he’s been captured or killed, I have no delusions about the ongoing war on terror. And think for a moment about the price that we’ve paid to get to this day. Over 6,000 dead American servicemen. Potentially hundreds of thousands of foreign nationals dead in Iraq and Afghanistan. The dramatic decline of America’s credibility and legitimacy as seen by world leaders and citizens alike the world over. Over a trillion dollars that could’ve been spent on healthcare and education for our citizens.

    I’m glad he’s gone, but I find it hard to celebrate. There have been no winners in this.

  • Rosslyn Resident

    I went to the White House for various reasons, but mainly just to see what was going on. The crowd was very, very young, and their response would lead one to believe that something was won. It was quite odd and surreal, but definitely worth going to.

    There were some people who had Obama signs and were excited about four more years of Obama. I ended up following some Marines to get through the crowd, and one young lady made some comment TO THE MARINE about how “we all” made “this” happen. The Marine I was following kind of looked at her like she was an idiot, but wasn’t in the mood to fight. Good for him.

  • NOVApologist

    I enjoyed listening to commentators struggling for clarity late on a Sunday night.

    Darcy Spencer on Channel 4 at one point said the revelers were “…celebrating Obama’s death.”

    Eleanor Holmes Norton took the opportunity to denounce Bush’s “invasion of Iran.”

    • “oh my” on both accounts. Darcy Spencer must have wanted to die after that comment

  • CW

    +1. Years and years of fairly conventional warfare turned up nothing, and in the end, we got him the old fashioned way – just sit back and wait for him to get too comfortable…

  • CW

    Ok, comment hierarchy seems to have gone away completely.

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  • Michael H.

    It was a nice coincidence that the Nationals (baseball team) had already scheduled a Military Appreciation Night for Monday’s game, the first one after the news of the capture and firefight.

    Active and retired military personnel received free tickets to the Nats-Giants game. The special night had been planned several weeks ago, but the timing ended up being perfect. Kind of eerie how that worked out.

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  • Great post and photos. I’ve been reposting this on Facebook, Twitter and elsewhere. I feel much more comfortable with how people reacted at the Pentagon than the chanting and overt celebrations.


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