By Paula Green
The Pentagon is one of the world's largest office buildings with five sides, five layers, and five floors. It houses the Department of Defense of the United States of America, which oversees the United States Air Force, Marine Corps, Navy, and Army. It was built to solve a space problem for the War Department, which was spread out over 17 different buildings.
Groundbreaking for its construction began on September 11, 1941, in Arlington County, Virginia. Sixty years to the day, the tragic terrorist attacks happened on September 11, 2001. American Airlines Flight 77 was hijacked and flown into the western side of the building, killing 189 people (59 victims and the five perpetrators on board the airliner, as well as 125 victims in the building).
The crash penetrated three of the building’s five rings. Fortunately, several offices in that area weren't occupied because of the ongoing renovations. One of the sections had just finished being upgraded with improved security features, including walls and windows with more blast resistance. An initial analysis after the attacks suggested that those improvements helped to save many lives.
The Pentagon Memorial Chapel was built within a year and dedicated on the first anniversary of the attacks. In addition, a memorial honoring those killed at the Pentagon on 9/11 opened to the public on September 11, 2008. The memorial features a bench for every life lost at the Pentagon that day. Some benches point toward the structure, signifying those killed from inside the building, and others point away to memorialize the people who perished from the plane.
Following the September 11th attacks, the Pentagon underwent an extensive renovation project called the Phoenix Project. The cost was five times the original construction cost, totaling $5 billion. It was completed in February 2003.
Inside the Pentagon is a room dedicated to the brave people to honor them for their services and those who received the Medal of Honor. This is the highest award one can ever receive during their lifetime for their bravery in the U.S. This room is called the Hall of Heroes.
The shape of the Pentagon was chosen because of its size requirements and height restrictions, as well as the site. It took only a mere 16 months to finish this massive construction project. The Pentagon was named a National Historic Landmark in 1992 because of its history and unique architecture.
Nearly 30,000 military and civilian personnel work inside the Pentagon each day. It covers approximately 6.5 million square feet and consists of one dining area, 284 rooms, 17 restaurants, six cafeterias, several libraries, and eight fast-food bars. There is a massive parking lot, a shopping center, 28 restrooms, a heliport, and a subway. Because of its size, the Pentagon has six zip codes.
The best thing about the Pentagon is something we all already know: the people who work there keep America safe and we salute their diligence in supporting our country.
Sources: www.arlingtontours.com/pentagon,ohfact.com/interesting-facts-about-pentagon/ kidadl.com/facts/pentagon-building-facts-secrets-mysteries-and-many-more, www.softschools.com/facts/us_national_landmarks/pentagon_facts/1193/, www.defense.gov/News/Feature-Stories/Story/article/1867440/pentagon-history-7-big-things-to-know/,