WASHINGTON – About 15 relatives of 9/11 victims donned hard hats and safety vests Friday morning to tour the construction site of the new Pentagon Memorial Park, located about 165 feet west of the point of impact of American Airlines Flight 77 when it crashed into the building during the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
The 2-acre park, due to be completed by Sept. 11, 2008, will consist of trees and memorial benches dedicated to each of the 184 victims killed in the attack. Each bench will sit over a pool of water.
"This is really hallowed ground," said Jim Laychak. "This is where we lost our loved ones." Laychak lost his brother Dave on 9/11.
"This is a special day for all the family members because it marks another step in the journey towards creating this great memorial," he said.
Laychak called the memorial a "labor of love."
"It's a labor of love for the families," he said. "It's a labor of love for the people who are working on this project."
Rosemary Dillard, who lost her husband Eddie that day, said she thinks about 9/11 all the time.
"And I wonder, does everybody else think about it?" she asked. "And I wonder, will everybody else remember that day?"
Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England does. He was at the Pentagon on 9/11.
"It is very fitting and proper that we remember all those who were killed here that day with this memorial," he said.
Construction of the $22 million project, funded by private donations, began in June 2006 and is on schedule for completion a year from now.