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Posted: 9/8/2004 11:18:30 AM EDT
Issue Date: September 13, 2004

Fund the memorial

It’s been three years since a hijacked Boeing 757 ripped into the western wall of the Pentagon, killing 184 people.
That terrorist act — and the attacks in New York — marked a new kind of war.

The events of Sept. 11, 2001, have weighed most heavily on two groups: the families of those who died that day, and the service members who have deployed around the globe in the three years since.

But when most Americans think of Sept. 11, they recall the crumbling World Trade Center towers, not the blaze at the Pentagon.

So perhaps it’s not surprising that efforts to raise money to build a memorial near the Pentagon site are lagging. About $2.9 million has been donated — not even 17 percent of the total $17.9 million needed to develop the 2-acre site.

Organizers had hoped to dedicate the memorial Sept. 11 of this year, but have pushed that back to at least fall 2005. And no one even talks about a potential date for a groundbreaking.

This is how our memorials tend to be built. World War II, Korean War and Vietnam veterans had to wait years for theirs.

But there’s a reason to move faster on the Pentagon memorial. As our nation wades deeper into a conflict that may well stretch out for years while having minimal impact on the lives of most Americans, we need reminders of what the struggle is about.

Completion of this memorial probably will require the generosity of ordinary Americans chipping in a few dollars. It’s easy enough to do: Go online to www.pentagonmemorial.net or call (800) 929-4911.

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