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9/11 Memorial Advocate Urges Unity

Article - Friday, September 10, 2010

Jonathan Stack

Defense Logistics Agency 

Source: US Department of Defense 

As the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks approaches and Americans reflect on that period, they should focus on the outpouring of patriotism and community of Sept. 12 and beyond rather than the tragic events surrounding the actual attacks, the president of the Pentagon Memorial Fund said here yesterday.

In the days and weeks following 9/11, Americans came together, comforted each other, showed their patriotism and flew American flags, Jim Laychak said in a remembrance ceremony at the McNamara Headquarters Complex here. The event was a joint effort of the Defense Logistics Agency and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency.

"I had relatives and neighbors who all offered comfort and support," Laychak said. "Thank you for remembering the day that our family will always remember."

Laychak's brother Dave, a Department of the Army civilian, was killed in the Pentagon attack. Afterward, Laychak became involved in the funding and design of the Pentagon Memorial to honor the lives lost. The Pentagon Memorial was the first of the three national 9/11 memorials to be dedicated and opened to the public.

"We raised the money; the memorial was built, and it was dedicated two years ago," he said. "I think the great thing about the memorial is it is focused on not telling people what to think, but to just make them think."

Everyone who visits the memorial experiences it in a different way, he said. School groups going through tend to stop at the benches dedicated to the school children killed while on a National Geographic-sponsored trip.

"If they are sixth graders, they think about the fact those kids were the same age," Laychak said. "They all take something different away. They rededicate themselves."
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