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American flag over the start of the Arlington 9/11 Memorial 5K in 2017

(Updated at 3 p.m.) A pair of large events are planned for Saturday, resulting in road closures in Rosslyn and the Crystal City area.

First up, the Rosslyn Jazz Fest, scheduled from 1-7 p.m. in Gateway Park, will close the following roads from 7 a.m.-10 p.m.

  • EB Langston Boulevard, from Fort Myer Drive to N. Moore Street
  • Fort Myer Drive driveway access, from 19th Street N. to N. Moore Street

“Traffic is expected to be impacted in the area and motorists should seek alternate routes to reduce road congestion,” the Arlington County Police Department said. “Attendees are encouraged to use Metro and other forms of multimodal transportation. The Rosslyn Metro Station (Orange, Silver, and Blue lines) is located within walking distance to the event.”

Later that day, a more extensive set of road closures will be put in place between 3-5 p.m. for the 20th Annual Arlington Police, Fire, Sheriff, & ECC 9/11 Memorial 5k race.

From a police press release:

The Arlington County Police Department will close the following roadways around the Pentagon and in Crystal City to accommodate the event:

From approximately 3:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m.

  • Army Navy Drive, from S. Eads Street to 12th Street S.

From approximately 5:00 p.m. until 8:30 p.m.

  • S. Eads Street, from Army Navy Drive to 12th Street S.
  • S. Fern Street, from Army Navy Drive to 12th Street S.
  • S. Hayes Street, from Army Navy Drive to 12th Street S.
  • Army Navy Drive, from S. Joyce Street to S. Eads Street
  • S. Joyce Street, from Army Navy Drive to Columbia Pike
  • Columbia Pike, from S. Oak Street to Washington Boulevard
  • S. Washington Boulevard, from Arlington Boulevard to Columbia Pike
  • S. Washington Boulevard, from SB George Washington Parkway
  • Route 110 S., from I-66 and Wilson Boulevard to Army Navy Drive
  • Marshall Drive, from Iwo Jima Access Road to Route 110 S.
  • Southgate Road, from Oak Street to Columbia Pike
  • The ramp to Army Navy Drive from NB I-395 Exit 8A, Arlington Ridge Road, and N. Washington Boulevard
  • The ramp from NB I-395 Exit 8C to Pentagon City / Crystal City

“Race attendees and spectators are encouraged to use Metro or other forms of multimodal transportation,” said the release. “The Pentagon City Metro Station (Blue and Yellow lines) and Crystal City Metro Station (Blue and Yellow lines) are located within walking distance to the racecourse. Paid parking is available at the Pentagon City Mall garage for those choosing to drive.”

Street parking in the area of both events will be restricted, with temporary “No Parking” signs placed along various streets, police said.

There’s also a third major event that will be coming through the county Saturday morning: the D.C. Bike Ride, the route for which goes over the 14th Street Bridge and loops around near the Pentagon.

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Flag displayed at the Pentagon in remembrance of 9/11 (file photo)

Arlington County’s annual 9/11 remembrance ceremony is taking place in Courthouse.

A live feed of the event, which started around 9:30 a.m. and features local officials and members of the police and fire departments, is available below. The full event should be viewable upon its conclusion.

American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon at 9:37 a.m. on Sept. 11, 2001, killing 184 people. It a clear late summer day, not unlike today.

President Joe Biden is scheduled to attend a private memorial service at the Pentagon Sunday morning, with the Secretary of Defense and family members of the victims, to mark the 21st anniversary of the terror attacks.

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The long-planned 9/11 Pentagon Memorial Visitor Education Center is delayed another year and is now hoping for a 2026 opening.

The $100 million education center is set to be located within the soon-to-be expanded Arlington National Cemetery and along Columbia Pike, which is being realigned to accommodate the cemetery’s expansion.

However, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) project got off to a late start with construction being pushed from the early fall of 2021 to the spring of 2022.

That has also moved the education center’s timeline back about a year, executive director Jim Laychak told ARLnow. The aim is now to start construction on the education center in 2024 with a hoped-for opening in 2026 — 25 years after the terror attacks.

“That [realignment and expansion] project frames the site for the future visitors’ center, so we are dependent on that and its timeline,” Laychak said.

When the facility was first announced in September 2015 and when renderings were displayed at the Pentagon City mall in 2016, the goal was to open in 2019 or 2020.

In terms of design, the plans for the 9/11 Pentagon Memorial Visitor Education Center haven’t changed much since last year. There have been some adjustments to the exterior, said Laychak, but those are still under review.

The education center will feature a modern design with exhibits on the first floor, “interactive biographies” of those who died at the Pentagon on 9/11, a second-floor conference room with views, a rooftop terrace, and ample parking.

Laychak, who also oversaw the building of the Pentagon Memorial, says this project is being funded in much the same way as the memorial — a combination of public and private funds.

The education center has raised about $14 million in private donations so far, an increase of about $9 million since this time last year. That includes a $2.5 million donation from Amazon.

The project still needs another $85 million though, Laychak said. The hope is to receive about $70 million from the federal government.

The 9/11 Pentagon Memorial Visitor Education Center, much like the memorial, is a deeply personal project for Laychak. His brother Dave was killed at the Pentagon on 9/11. This weekend will mark the 21st anniversary of the terrorist attack and his brother’s death.

“All of them are [tough],” Laychak said last year about the 20th anniversary. “One is not any more or less meaningful than the other, though you start to realize how much life has gone on without Dave.”

He’ll be in attendance at the Pentagon Memorial again this year for a small service for family members and invited guests.

The memorial and education center are important reminders, Laychak said, of a tragic day that changed history and defined a generation that fought the wars that followed. For such a pivotal moment in history, however, it’s notable that newer generations have not had the same searing memories of that fateful day.

Laychak briefly told a story about how he was leading a school tour at the memorial a few years ago and many of the kids didn’t know the details of what had happened at the Pentagon on 9/11.

“We need to remember those stories and remember what happened, especially these days with social media and all of the misinformation, conspiracy theories,” said Laychak. “We are going to get [the education center] done. It’s a project we believe in.”

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A retired flight attendant will be pushing a beverage cart from Dulles airport to the Pentagon next month in honor of his colleagues who were killed on 9/11.

It was the evening of September 10, 2001, when Paul “Paulie” Veneto arrived back in Boston on Flight 175. He was working as a flight attendant for United Airlines at the time and the Los Angeles to Boston was his normal route. But his shift was up, so he and the rest of his crew switched.

“The next morning, September 11, the next crew went out the trip I had just finished,” he told ARLnow over the phone. “So, I knew all of those crew members.”

In remembrance of his former colleagues and all the crew on the four flights that were hijacked on that fateful day, Veneto will be pushing an airplane beverage cart 30 miles from Dulles International Airport to the Pentagon. That’s the path of American Airlines Flight 77, which crashed into the Pentagon and killed 184 people.

Veneto is set to begin the journey on Sept. 8 with his arrival set for Sept. 11, 21 years after Veneto himself narrowly avoided becoming a 9/11 victim. The cart will be adorned with the names of all those crew members that died that day attempting to save lives.

“You hear about all the police and fire and they all deserve credit, they did extraordinary things,” said Veneto. “But I knew people were suffering not hearing about the heroics of those crew members.”

Last year for the 20th anniversary of 9/11, he embarked on a similar, though much longer, journey. It took him 230 miles and about three weeks to push a beverage cart from Boston Logan International Airport to Ground Zero in New York.

He encountered numerous obstacles making that trip, including hurricane-like rain, hills, heat, and railroad tracks, but what he remembers by far the most are the people lining the route and cheering him on.

“It was unbelievable… there were whole towns, fire trucks, everyone waiting for me,” Veneto said. “It was crazy.”

He had military veterans, police, and those who lost people that day coming up to him to tell him their stories of how 9/11 impacted them.

That’s when he realized he needed to do the beverage cart push again, this time following the path of Flight 77 that ultimately went from Dulles to the Pentagon. He and his team have scouted the route already, which is mostly a bike path and “pretty flat.” He doesn’t foresee any major issues, though does caution he’s “expecting the unexpected.”

While a beverage cart can weigh a couple of hundred pounds, Veneto said that pushing one down the road has nothing on navigating one through the aisle of a full aircraft attempting to avoid legs, arms, and knees.

Veneto’s journey will start at about 8 a.m. on Sept. 8, when he will go down the ramp at Dulles, en route to the Pentagon. The plan is to arrive in Arlington in the afternoon of the 21st anniversary of the attacks.

For those who want to track Veneto or, even, cheer him along the way, a real-time map will be providing photo and updates on where he is.

Veneto, who struggled with drug addiction after 9/11, said he gets inspired to remain sober by remembering those colleagues and friends who lost their lives that day. He hopes others might as well find some strength in the memories of the crew members to battle whatever challenges they are facing.

“I get the strength from looking at [their pictures] and thinking of what they must have went through that morning,” he said. “They were the first responders.

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Morning Notes

Along Columbia Pike at twilight (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Dispute Leads to Violence, Vehicular Mayhem — “The victim pulled the suspect out of the vehicle and he pushed her, causing her to fall to the ground. A security guard intervened and separated the parties. The suspect then reentered his vehicle, described as a white van, and fled the scene. While fleeing, the suspect allegedly struck the victim’s vehicle, a sign on the property, and drove towards the security guard, causing him to dive out of the way.” [ACPD]

Beyer Wants Quieter Airplanes — “As the representative for the area around Reagan National Airport, one of the most common concern heard by Rep. Don Beyer is airplane noise. On Friday, Beyer is reintroducing the Cleaner, Quieter Airplanes Act to seek study on reducing airplane noise and emissions.” [Patch]

Top ACPD Official Retires — “Per a tribute that just went out on ACPD’s dispatch channel, Deputy Chief Michael Dunne is retiring today after 38 years of service.” [Twitter]

Arlington Ranks No. 15 for Solo Affordability — “Rent prices are rising rapidly in many of America’s largest cities. Nationally, average rent increased by 11.3% between the start of 2021 and 2022… In this study, we compared the 100 largest U.S. cities across topics such as rent costs, earnings, living costs and employment to uncover where renters can afford to live alone.” [SmartAsset]

Major Delays at DCA — “At Reagan National Airport in the Washington, D.C. region on Thursday, more than 200 flights — roughly 43 percent of scheduled departures — were delayed, and 79, or 16 percent, were canceled. At Dulles International Airport, only 4 percent of scheduled departures were canceled, but 30 percent of flights were delayed.” [Washington Post]

Flyover for Tuskegee Airman — “Memorial events for Brigadier General Charles E. McGee, one of the last surviving members of the famed Tuskegee Airmen, were held Friday… McGee’s funeral took place at Arlington National Cemetery with a flyover.” [WJLA, WRIC]

Chance Connection Turns into Emotional Bond — “An Arlington, Virginia, family recently met someone who has an indelible connection to their deceased father that was forged in the chaos and smoking debris at the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001.” [NBC 4]

It’s Monday — Partly cloudy throughout the day. High of 77 and low of 57. Sunrise at 5:45 am and sunset at 8:38 pm. [Weather.gov]

Editor’s Note — Our staff has the day off due to the federal observation of the Juneteenth holiday. Barring breaking news, we will only be publishing in the morning today.

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Morning Notes

Dave Grohl Rocks Local Studio — “Dave Grohl doesn’t seem terribly interested in taking a day off. Shortly after the 9:30 Club announced the Grohl-led Foo Fighters would play a surprise show Thursday, the former Nirvana drummer reunited with D.C.-based punk rockers, at Inner Ear Studio — the legendary and soon-to-close Arlington, Virginia, recording studio owned by Don Zientara.” [WTOP]

Fmr. Fire Chief on Arlington’s 9/11 Response — “‘It was truly an all-hands-on-deck endeavor,’ Schwartz said at the historical society’s annual banquet, held Sept. 9 at Washington Golf & Country Club. ‘We’re all in this together. There’s not a single agency or even a single jurisdiction that can handle this by themselves.’ Schwartz pointed to the county’s then-fire chief, Edward Plaugher, for his work building relationships with agencies like the FBI. Plaugher ‘was ahead of his time’ in being concerned about terrorism.” [Sun Gazette]

Night Paving at Busy Intersection — “Nighttime paving continues overnight this week at the Langston Boulevard (Lee Highway)-Glebe Road intersection improvements project… lasting into Friday, Sept. 17.” [Twitter]

Nicecream Hits Rocky Road — Nicecream, the handcrafted ice cream shop that expanded after finding success with its first location in Clarendon, is closing its Shaw store in the District. [PoPville]

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Morning Notes

Tower of Light Returns — From Dave Statter: “The Tower of Light at the Pentagon began tonight & continues through September 12 in honor of those killed when the United States was attacked 20 years ago Saturday.” [Twitter, Fox 5]

Road Closures for Memorial 5K — “The Arlington Police, Fire, Sheriff and ECC Memorial 9/11 Memorial 5k race will take place on the evening of Saturday, September 11, 2021. The Arlington County Police Department will close the following roadways around the Pentagon and in Crystal City to accommodate the event.” [ACPD]

Some Boundary Adjustments Coming — “Arlington’s public-school leadership has so much on its return-to-classrooms plate already – ya think? – that a massive boundary-adjustment process is just not in the cards for now. School officials are planning for ‘only those adjustments that must be done,’ said Lisa Stengle, the school system’s executive director of planning and evaluation, during an Aug. 26 briefing to School Board members.” [Sun Gazette]

Feds Add Rep from Arlington to Metro BoardUpdated at 9 a.m. — A new alternate Metro Board member from Arlington was sworn in yesterday. Assistant County Manager & Director of Communications and Public Engagement Bryna Helfer is a federal appointee to the Board. Helfer previously worked for the U.S. Dept. of Transportation. [U.S. Dept. of Transportation, Twitter]

Biz Booming for Local Tattoo Shop — “As more Americans resolve to change their lives after a tumultuous year and a half, many are choosing to get tattoos: D.C.-area tattoo-shop owners are reporting a boom in business, even though the pandemic all but shuttered other industries. Inside Lady Octopus, in Arlington, Virginia, artist Gilda Acosta shades in a touch of light green on the leaves of a primrose. Client Meg Little, of Alexandria, booked this appointment seven months ago.” [WTOP]

Higher Ed Booms With Amazon Arrival — “With the arrival of Amazon and a proliferation of other tech companies in fields ranging from big data to cybersecurity, candidates like Bhatia are in high demand. The problem is, there aren’t enough to go around. Universities are trying to change that, and in the process, sparking an academic explosion in and around Arlington… Virginia Tech, Mason and the University of Maryland are preparing to open gleaming new facilities here.” [Arlington Magazine]

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Ceremonies and events will be held in Arlington this weekend to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on Saturday.

The events will pay tribute to those who died as well as to Arlington’s first responders, whose response to the Pentagon attack has been hailed as a “model for the nation” by the 9/11 Commission.

Among the events on tap are a wreath-laying ceremony, a memorial 5K, a bike ride, a softball tournament, and a private event at the Pentagon for the families of the victims.

With some events at-capacity or closed to the public, the county says locals can observe the day from home, by watching short videos produced by the county, or by hanging American flags.

Wreath-Laying Ceremony

The Arlington County Public Safety Combined Honor Guard will perform a Presentation of Colors and lay a wreath at county government headquarters at 2100 Clarendon Blvd at 9 a.m tomorrow (Friday). A moment of silence will be observed at 9:37 a.m., when American Airlines Flight 77 struck the Pentagon.

The ceremony can be steamed on the county website, YouTube, or Facebook, or viewed on Comcast channel 1085 or Verizon FiOS channel 39.

Memorial 5K

Arlington’s police and fire departments, the Sheriff’s Office and the Emergency Communications Center will host the annual 9/11 Memorial 5K Run and fundraiser this Saturday. The race starts at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 11 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Crystal City (300 Army Navy Drive). The in-person race is at capacity, but the event is still registering virtual participants.

Pentagon Memorial Event

The National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial is currently closed due to COVID-19, with no reopening date set. Family members of victims and other invited guests will be admitted this weekend for a seated event with social distancing and various speakers.

‘Ride of Hope’ Cycling Event

Cyclists will ride 15 miles, starting at 7 a.m. on Saturday, and stop at the nine Arlington fire stations that responded to the attack. The ride ends with a moment of silence and a wreath ceremony.

Those who responded 20 years ago will ride to the Pentagon 9/11 memorial and lay another wreath. All retired and active first responders are invited, as well as family and friends 18 and older. If spots are available, other adults can join as well.

Photography Exhibit

Three local photographers will host a photography exhibit entitled “Still Standing — Still Free” at Fashion Centre at Pentagon City mall, with original photos, a video of the immediate aftermath, 9/11 artifacts and never-before-seen snapshots. The display will be free to the public. It runs from Saturday, Sept. 11 through Monday, Oct. 11.

First Responders Cup Tournament

A softball tournament at the Barcroft Park (4200 S. Four Mile Run Drive) on Saturday will raise money for Pentagon Disaster Relief charities. All games are free to participate in and open to anyone who is interested. Opening ceremonies start at 7:30 a.m. Saturday, and will feature the Armed Services Color Guard, the 3rd Army Old Guard Ceremonial Fife and Drums Corps, and the fire department.

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Morning Notes

Firefighters Recount 9/11 Horror — “Arlington County firefighter Matthew Herrera was racing to a call for an apartment fire in Rosslyn, Virginia, 20 years ago, when his crew was rerouted. Their new destination: the Pentagon, for a report of a plane down in the area. It was Sept. 11, 2001. Herrera, now a captain, struggled to get through piles of debris inside the building, right where the plane had hit, to fight the blaze. ‘The first time I fell, I got up real quick and I remember (thinking), ‘I hope I’m not stepping on somebody.’ And I knew that I probably was,’ Herrera told WTOP.” [WTOP]

More Recollections of Sept. 11 — “What they encountered was catastrophic, unprecedented and unforgettable. ‘There was just one piece of the plane I could see,’ recalls Scott, who today holds the rank of Captain II with Arlington Fire/EMS. ‘It was the letter C, from American Airlines.’ Along with countless other responders, Scott spent hours working to suppress the fire raging on the Pentagon’s west side.” [Arlington Magazine, WJLA, NBC 4]

Car Break-ins Around Arlington Ridge — “2300 block of S. Arlington Ridge Road / 1200 block of Oakcrest Road. At approximately 9:52 a.m. on September 3, police were dispatched to the report of multiple larcenies from auto. The investigation determined that between 10:30 p.m. on September 2 and 9:52 a.m. on September 3, the unknown suspect(s) entered approximately four vehicles and rummaged through them. A variety of tools and personal items were reported stolen from the victim vehicles.” [ACPD]

First Hurricane Dog Adopted at AWLA — From the Animal Welfare League of Arlington: “Over the weekend, the first of our Louisiana dogs was adopted! We think Milo is very happy with his new family . More of the dogs from Louisiana will be available in the coming days/weeks so keep an eye on our website!” [Twitter]

Yorktown Football Undefeated So Far — “When it come to his team’s execution on offense, Bruce Hanson is hard to please. The longtime head coach of the Yorktown Patriots has a 2-0 football team already this fall that has scored 19 and 43 points in each of those high-school contests. Yet Hanson isn’t satisfied with what he says is sloppy and uneven performances, including during Yorktown’s 43-17 blowout of visiting Wilson on Sept. 2.” [Sun Gazette]

A Capital Problem Along Route 50 — “@VaDOTNOVA: Please fix the capitalization error on this sign. Should read ’14th Street,’ not ’14Th Street.’ Has annoyed me for years. On WB Arlington Blvd (US 50) near the Marine Corps Memorial.” [Twitter]

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(Updated 8/27/21) The long-planned 9/11 Pentagon Memorial Visitor Education Center is aiming for a September 2025 opening, executive director Jim Laychak tells ARLnow.

A video announcement with updated designs, plans, and visuals for the education center that will be located along the soon-to-be-realigned Columbia Pike will be unveiled in the coming weeks and prior to the 20th anniversary of 9/11, Laychak says.

The website and provided renderings currently shows a sleek, modern design with exhibits, “interactive biographies” of those who died at the Pentagon on 9/11, a rooftop terrace, ample parking, and a family gallery.

The project has contracted Fentress Architects to design the building as well as the museum design firm PRD to do the exhibits. PRD recently helped to design D.C.’s Museum of the Bible.

Construction on the anticipated companion to the 9/11 Pentagon Memorial is expected to start within two years.

“September 2023, we could start construction and, in two years from that, we will be open,” says Laychak, who also oversaw the building of the nearby memorial. “It’s about a two year construction [phase].”

However, that timeline isn’t set and and is dependent on the completion of the Arlington National Cemetery Defense Access Roads Project. That project will realign Columbia Pike, modify the S. Joyce Street intersection, and shift the Columbia Pike and Washington Blvd. interchange. This is all being done to allow for Arlington National Cemetery to expand.

“The site where we are going to build is on that whole grassy area where the gas station used to be,” says Laychak. “It’s got a cloverleaf there and… that needs to change to a parallel on and off ramp… to Washington Blvd. So, all of that needs to happen first.”

Construction on the road realignment was originally slated to start  in “summer 2021,” according to the U.S. Department of Transportation website, but work hasn’t begun yet.

ARLnow has reached out to the department about an updated timeline for the project but has yet to hear back as of publication.

The Pentagon Memorial opened to the public in 2008, but the 9/11 Pentagon Memorial Visitor Education Center wasn’t announced until late September 2015. It will sit on land owned by Arlington National Cemetery.

“The 9/11 Pentagon Visitor Education Center site is in a dramatic location,” the museum’s website said back in 2015. “Right where the attack of 9/11 took place and adjacent to the 9/11 Pentagon Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery and Air Force Memorial.”

In 2016, renderings were displayed at the Pentagon City mall. Initially, it was expected to be completed by 2020 but that didn’t happen due to the project needing to wait for the ANC expansion and roads projects to take shape, says Laychak.

The last few years have mostly been filled with completing the architecture design, raising money, and reassembling a board of directors that now includes Sean Connaughton, a former Virginia transportation secretary.

The project has raised about $5 million, which was used to complete the design of the education center and exhibits. Overall, it will need to raise another $80 million, which Laychak estimates will be a split between federal appropriations (much like what was the case for the memorial) and private funds. The executive team is in the midst of a capital campaign to raise those funds.

Laychak believes the addition of the education center, along with the expansion of the cemetery and the roads project, will transform the 9/11 Pentagon Memorial into a “destination location.” It will also make the memorial much easier to get to, he says, since right now it can be a bit of a maze of a walk through parking lots, concrete barriers, and closed access points.

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The National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial (courtesy of 9/11 Trail)

The National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial is currently closed to the public due COVID protocols and may not be open to the public by September 11, a Pentagon spokesperson confirms to ARLnow.

The Department of Defense closed down the 9/11 Memorial and public tours again earlier this month due to an increase in COVID-19 cases in the region.

At this point, it’s unlikely that the memorial in Arlington will be reopened to the public on September 11, the 20th anniversary of the attack on the Pentagon.

“We can not predict when it will be open again,” Pentagon spokesperson Susan Gough tells ARLnow.

As of August 2, the Pentagon reservation has been under Health Protection Condition Bravo (HPCON Bravo), meaning there’s “moderate” community transmission. This lines up with CDC’s data on August 2 showing that Arlington, as a whole, was seeing “substantial” community transmission. (It was recently upgraded to “high” by the CDC.)

Gough says the restrictions on the memorial will only loosen when the entire reservation moves to HPCON Alpha — “limited” community transmission.

While the memorial is outside, it operates under the parameters of the entire Pentagon. Meaning, it will only reopen to the public when the Defense Department shifts the entire reservation back to HPCON Alpha.

While the memorial probably won’t be open for visitation by the general public, there will be a small ceremony on the morning of September 11 for families and invited guests only.

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