PENTAGON TOURS AND MEMORIALS
The Pentagon’s tour program was established on May 17, 1976 to support the nation’s
bicentennial celebration. Initially, the program was to last through July 4th and then be
disbanded. Internal support and public demand were so great that the program has continued.
The program hosts more than 100,000 visitors annually. As of 2012, more than three million
people had taken a Pentagon tour.
The tour route is approximately one-and-one-half miles in length and takes approximately
60 minutes to walk. Each tour consists of more than 20 pages of script covering 20 items of
interest related to the mission of the Department of Defense and each of its Service branches.
Tours include numerous displays that highlight and depict significant moments in military
history. See “Exhibits” subsection.
The Pentagon tour window is located just inside the visitor waiting area at the Pentagon Metro
entrance. A security briefing is provided prior to the beginning of every tour, and all visitors
must pass through an airport-type security scanning device. No photographs may be taken.
No video cameras, tape recorders, or any other kind of electronic recording device is permitted
at any time.
The tour program is a Joint Service operation consisting of approximately 25 hand-picked,
active-duty personnel from the military ceremonial units of the NCR. Upon arrival, each tour
guide must successfully complete a two-week training course and an additional two weeks
of on-the-job training. Tour guides are assigned to the program for a period of one year, after
which they rotate back to their respective units.
OUTSIDE THE BUILDING
The following sites are located outside of the Pentagon building and are open to the public.
Sites at the Pentagon
The Pentagon Memorial, located on the West side of the Pentagon (towards the southern
end), was the first to be dedicated to those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001. After a
worldwide competition to select an artistic concept for the Memorial, Julie Beckman and Keith
Kaseman of Kaseman Beckman Amsterdam Studio were selected as the winning designers
from more than 1,100 submissions. A panel of architects, family members, and public figures in
the Washington, DC area, including two former Secretaries of Defense, made the selection.
The landscaped 1.93-acre site contains 184 inscribed Memorial units honoring the 125 individuals inside the Pentagon and the 59
individuals aboard American Airlines Flight 77 who lost their lives that day. Each of the 184 Memorial units consists of a cantilevered bench,
a pool of flowing water lit from below, and a permanent tribute, by name, to the victim. The Memorial serves as a timeline of the victims’
ages, spanning the youngest victim, three-year-old Dana Falkenberg, to the oldest, Captain U.S. Navy Retired, John Yamnicky, 71.
Each unit in the Memorial is also specifically positioned to distinguish victims in the Pentagon from those on board American Airlines Flight 77.
Visitors facing the building can read a name on each of the 125 memorial units honoring the victims of the Pentagon. Conversely, visitors facing
away from the building can see the engraved name of a victim of Flight 77 on each of the 59 memorial units.
Within the Pentagon Memorial, 85 Paperbark Maple trees (Acer griseum) are clustered around the Memorial units, but are not dedicated to
any single victim. These trees will grow to 30 feet in height, providing a canopy of shade over the Memorial in years to come. The Memorial
is protected by PFPA and managed by WHS. Funding for the Memorial comes from a public/private partnership.
Opened to the public
on September 11, 2008, the Pentagon Memorial is designed so that the nation may remember and reflect on the events that occurred on
September 11, 2001. Guided tours are not offered at this time. However, docents will soon be on hand to provide visitors with information.
Groups and individuals are welcome to visit the Memorial, without charge, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
Access to the Pentagon Memorial
The Memorial is accessible to the general public by Metro transit, private vehicle, and private
tour bus. Due to parking constraints, the public is urged to use Metro transit as the primary
means of making a visit.
Metro Transit: The Blue and Yellow lines serve the Pentagon Metro stop. There are also
many commuter bus routes that stop at the Pentagon Transit Center. The Pentagon Transit
Center and the Pentagon City Metro stop are both within walking distance of the Pentagon
Memorial. The Arlington Metro stop may be another option for tourists wishing to visit the
September 11 group marker at the cemetery, as well as the Pentagon Memorial.
Tour Bus: The Pentagon offers limited parking for tour buses in the Pentagon South
Private Vehicle: Private vehicles may off-load and pick up passengers at the North Rotary
Road Kiss and Drop points, but cannot park or idle at these locations. Parking regulations
are strictly enforced at the Pentagon. Metered parking is available on the streets of Crystal
City and Pentagon City. Parking for a fee may be available in commercial lots a short walk
or Metro ride from the Pentagon.
In addition, parking is available to Pentagon Memorial visitors only at the Hayes Street Parking
Lot, located directly across the street from the Pentagon City Mall, on weekday from 7:00 am
to 5:00 pm Monday through Friday, and all day on weekends and holidays. A pedestrian tunnel
under I-395 leads to the Pentagon from the Hayes Street Lot. After exiting the tunnel, follow
the signs to the Memorial Gateway.
Memorial Parking for People with Mobility Impairments: There are five parking spaces available in Lane 1 of the Pentagon
South Parking Lot, adjacent to the Memorial Park, for those with disabilities. This parking is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
All vehicles using this parking must display a valid disabled parking permit issued by the state or other jurisdiction in which the vehicle
The Air Force Memorial
Dedicated on October 14, 2006, the Air Force Memorial honors the millions of men and women who have served in the U.S. Air Force and its
predecessor heritage organizations, including the Aeronautical Division, U.S. Signal Corps; the Aviation Section, U.S. Signal Corps; the Division of
Military Aeronautics, Secretary of War; the Army Air Service; the U.S. Army Air Corps; and the U.S. Army Air Forces. More than 55,000 have died in
combat while serving in the Air Force and these historic service arms of the military.
The Memorial design, both bold and graceful, is intended to evoke flight
and the flying spirit. Central to the design are three stainless steel spires
that soar skyward, with the highest reaching 270 feet above the 3-acre
elevated promontory site. The spires express the strength of the Air
Force and the many functional areas that contribute to the aerospace
power. The number three resonates with significant associations for
the Air Force, including the three values it holds highest: “Integrity first,
Service before self, and Excellence in all we do.”
Other key elements of the memorial include an ever-present bronze
Honor Guard, an Air Force Heritage/Core Value inscription wall,
a Courage/ Sacrifice/ Valor inscription wall, and the Missing Man
Formation glass contemplation wall, all landscaped to create a memorial
lawn and parade ground overlooking the nation’s capital.
The memorial was designed by James Ingo Freed, who also designed
the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC. The $30
million project was funded almost entirely by private contributions.
The Memorial, within walking distance of the Pentagon Metro Station,
is adjacent to Arlington National Cemetery and overlooks the Pentagon,
the Potomac River, and Washington, DC. The Memorial is open April 1—
September 30 from 8:00 am to 11:00 pm; and October 1—March 31 from
8:00 am to 9:00 pm.
INSIDE THE BUILDING
Memorials and exhibits located inside the Pentagon can only be viewed by
members of the public on an official Pentagon tour or accompanied by an
The America’s Heroes Memorial
As a result of the aircraft’s impact during the 9/11 attack, the
three outer rings of all five floors required complete structural
demolition down to the slab-on-grade. The America’s Heroes
Memorial opened in September 2002 after repairs to the Pentagon
were complete. The memorial and chapel, located in the vicinity of 1E438, pinpoint the location where American Airlines Flight 77
crashed into the building.
The memorial includes a book of photographs and biographies of
the victims. It also includes five large black acrylic panels, which
honor the 184 victims of the crash. One panel displays the Purple
Heart medal awarded to military members killed in the attacks;
another shows the medal given to civilians. Two back-wall panels
are etched with the victims’ names, and a center panel bears
tribute statements. Pencils and commemorative tracing paper are
available, so that visitors can make rubbings of the names.
A small chapel, located in an adjacent room (1E438), has stained
glass windows with patriotic designs.
The memorial and chapel are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
For a virtual tour, please see http://www.eagleswatchfoundation.org/911/index.htm.
The Navy Reflection Room
The Navy Reflection Room (1D463) was formerly the site of the
Navy Operations Center, destroyed during the 9/11 attack on the
Pentagon. The memorial, constructed to honor those members of
the Navy who lost their lives both at the Pentagon and on American
Airlines Flight 77, opened on September 11, 2003.
At the center of the small room stands a large stone monolith,
donated by the Pentagon Renovation Program, bearing the header
“Lest We Forget” and the names of the Navy family members
being commemorated. An American flag stands at one side of the
monolith and a Navy Departmental flag stands at the other side.
Inscribed in the adjacent wall is an excerpt from a World War I poet
Lawrence Binyon’s “For the Fallen.” Nearby is a limestone reflection
bench, also donated by the Pentagon Renovation Program.
The room is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. For a virtual tour,
please see http://www.eagleswatchfoundation.org/911/index.htm.
Many of the corridors at the Pentagon feature exhibits showcasing
various aspects of military life and history. Others showcase
U.S. military cooperation with the military of other countries. One
example is the Australia, New Zealand, and United States (ANZUS)
corridor, which focuses on U.S. military cooperation and security
friendship. Corridor exhibits are subject to change and the list of
exhibits on the following pages is by no means all-inclusive.
For more information about the corridor exhibits and displays,
please contact OSD Graphics at 703-695-4266, or www.dtic.mil/osdgraphics/.
OTHER POINTS OF INTEREST
OSD CORRIDOR EXHIBITS
9/11 MEMORIAL QUILTS
AFRICAN AMERICANS IN DEFENSE OF OUR NATION
BUFFALO SOLDIER EXHIBIT
CAREER CIVIL SERVANTS
SIR WINSTON CHURCHILL BUST
DEFENSE HUMANITARIAN RELIEF CORRIDOR
FACES OF THE FALLEN
HALL OF HEROES/ MEDAL OF HONOR
KOREAN WAR 60TH ANNIVERSARY EXHIBIT
LAST KNOWN VETERANS OF WWI
MILITARY WOMEN'S CORRIDOR
PENTAGON BUILDING HISTORY EXHIBIT
SECRETARIES OF DEFENSE
DOD SPIRIT OF HOPE AWARD
ARMY FLAG AND STREAMERS
CHIEFS OF STAFF OF THE ARMY
GEORGE C. MARSHALL ALCOVE
MARJOR ARMY COMMAND FLAGS
MISCHELLANEOUS ARMY DISPLAYS
SECRETARIES OF THE ARMY
SOLDIERS AND SIGNERS OF THE CONSTITUTION
CHIEF OF NAVAL OPERATIONS
CHIEF OF NAVAL OPERATIONS SHIP MODELS AND SEABEE DISPLAY
GREAT WHITE FLEET
MARINE CORPS COMMANDANTS
NAVY AND MARINE CORPS HISTORY
NAVY AND MARINE CORPS SPERCIAL OPERATIONS
PERSIDENTS IN NAVAL SERVICE/ 5 STAR ADMIRALS
SECRETARIES OF THE NAVY
AIR FORCE EXHIBITS
COAST GUARD EXHIBITS
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