PENTAGON TOURS AND MEMORIALS

 

PENTAGON TOURS

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 Parking Lot.

  • 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 is registered.   

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 approved escort.

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.

Corridor Exhibits

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

  • ANZUS

  • BUFFALO SOLDIER EXHIBIT

  • CAREER CIVIL SERVANTS

  • CHAPLAINCY MINISTRY

  • SIR WINSTON CHURCHILL BUST

  • DEFENSE HUMANITARIAN RELIEF CORRIDOR

  • EISENHOWER

  • FACES OF THE FALLEN

  • HALL OF HEROES/ MEDAL OF HONOR

  • KOREAN WAR 60TH  ANNIVERSARY EXHIBIT

  • LAST KNOWN VETERANS OF WWI

  • MACARTHUR

  • MILITARY WOMEN'S CORRIDOR

  • PENTAGON BUILDING HISTORY EXHIBIT

  • POW/MIA

  • SECRETARIES OF DEFENSE

  • DOD SPIRIT OF HOPE AWARD

  • USO EXHIBIT

JSC EXHIBITS

  • BRADLEY

  • CHAIRMEN OF THE JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF

ARMY EXHIBITS

  • ARMY FLAG AND STREAMERS

  • ARMY HISTORY

  • ARMY LEADERSHIP

  • CHIEFS OF STAFF OF THE ARMY

  • GEORGE C. MARSHALL ALCOVE

  • MARJOR ARMY COMMAND FLAGS

  • MARSHALL

  • MISCHELLANEOUS ARMY DISPLAYS

  • SECRETARIES OF THE ARMY

  • SOLDIERS AND SIGNERS OF THE CONSTITUTION

NAVY/MARINE EXHIBITS

  • CHIEF OF NAVAL OPERATIONS

  • CHIEF OF NAVAL OPERATIONS SHIP MODELS AND SEABEE DISPLAY

  • GREAT WHITE FLEET

  • MARINE CORPS COMMANDANTS

  • NAVAL AVIATION

  • 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

  • AIR FORCE ART

  • AIR FORCE MODEL CASE

  • AIR FORCE PIONEERS

  • AIR FORCE SECRETAIRES AND CHIEFS OF STAFF

  • OUTSTANDING AIRMEN

COAST GUARD EXHIBITS

  • U.S. COAST GUARD ART HERITAGE OF SERVICE





Contact Information:
Telephone: 703-692-5121
E-mail: WHS.2017Transition@mail.mil

Back to Top