« Back

Pentagon Memorial draws visitors

Article - Monday, May 2, 2011

Laura Vozzella
The Baltimore Sun

The day after U.S. forces killed Osama bin Laden, dozens of people flocked to the Pentagon Memorial to honor loved ones, neighbors and perfect strangers who died in the Pentagon attack nearly 10 years ago.

They bore flowers and tiny flags and carried themselves, for the most part, like visitors to a cemetery. In contrast to more raucous gatherings in New York and at the White House, there were no whoops or cheers here on two pebble-covered acres on the Pentagon's south side. Mourners left bouquets in pools of water trickling beneath 184 stone benches, each engraved with the name of someone killed when a hijacked plane crashed into the massive building.

"We had to do something," said Gary Cotton, 61, a retired Library of Congress darkroom technician from Washington. "That's kind of like what it boils down to. You can't just watch television."

Cotton and his wife, Nancy, set a bouquet of pink carnations and The Washington Post atop the bench engraved with the name of a close friend, Sheila Hein of College Park, and snapped a photo. It was if they were bringing the news to the late Navy photographer. The headline read: "Justice has been done." Cotton — who choked up recalling that immediately after the attack, he'd tried to reassure Hein's domestic partner that she'd turn up alive — could not have agreed more. Click here to read the full story.