Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld holds a brief press conference in the Pentagon to demonstrate to the American people and the world that despite the damaging attack, the Pentagon still operates. Most of the attending press corps had been working outdoors several hundred yards from the building, on South Joyce Street near the Navy Exchange gas station, the closest they were permitted to the crash site.1

 

Senator Carl Levin (D-MI), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and Senator John Warner (R-VA), the committee’s ranking minority member, had asked to come to the Pentagon to show bipartisan support. Appreciating their concern, Rumsfeld welcomes them. The senators visit the crash site and participate in the press conference, joined by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Shelton and Secretary of the Army White. Near the end of his remarks, Rumsfeld pointedly declares that the briefing is taking place in the Pentagon and that "the Pentagon is functioning. It will be in business tomorrow”.2

 

Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld (center) leads Sen. Carl Levin (left), D-Mich. and Sen. John Warner (right), R-Va., to the crash scene at the Pentagon heliport on Sept. 11, 2001. Rumsfeld earlier conducted a news conference with reporters in the Pentagon briefing room on the terrorist attack of the Pentagon. (DOD photo by Helene C. Stikkel) 3

 
1 Goldberg, A. Papadopoulous, S., et al “Pentagon 9/11” Historical Office, Office of the Secretary of Defense n.d PDF. March 17, 2011 page 143 http://osdhistory.defense.gov/docs/Pentagon%209-11.pdf
2 Goldberg, A. Papadopoulous, S., et al “Pentagon 9/11” Historical Office, Office of the Secretary of Defense n.d PDF. March 17, 2011 page 145 http://osdhistory.defense.gov/docs/Pentagon%209-11.pdf
3 DOD photo by Helene C. Stikkel U.S. Air Force Photo Database n.d. Web. April 27, 2011 http://www.af.mil/shared/media/photodb/photos/010911-D-2987S-123.jpg