Keith Kaseman’s and Julie Beckman’s proposal for the memorial’s design was chosen from more than 1,100 submissions in March 2003. Soon afterward, the New Yorkers moved to Alexandria, Va., near Washington, where for more than three years they worked with construction plans and fine-tuned design details.
The memorial, Beckman said as she strolled across the grounds with her husband, will provide a “very special place on Earth” dedicated to the memory of the 184 people who died in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack on the Pentagon.
The memorial “is very contemplative, very peaceful,” Beckman observed.
Located just outside the Pentagon, the memorial park features 184 granite-topped, stainless-steel “sculptural elements,” said Jean Barnak, the Defense Department’s project manager for the memorial. These elements, she said, represent the 125 lives lost in the Pentagon and the 59 deaths aboard American Airlines Flight 77 when terrorists plunged the plane into the Pentagon’s west wall.
Each element has a reflecting pool of water at its base, Barnak said, which is flood-lit in the evening. The families of the attack victims also had a hand in the memorial’s design, she said.