- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 5, 2005

Organizers of a memorial to the 184 persons killed in the September 11 terrorist attack on the Pentagon have enlisted the help of EBay in their fundraising efforts.

The Pentagon Memorial Fund yesterday began a series of online auctions aimed at raising money for the memorial, and the group’s president, James J. Laychak, said he hopes the bidding will raise awareness for the project.

“By having these auctions it gets people to go out and take a look,” Mr. Laychak said. “But we also hope people look through our Web site and make a donation as well. We hope it gets more people out there.”

Mr. Laychak said organizers have raised about $8 million for the memorial. He said the group expects to have about $9.2 million by the end of the month — not including proceeds from the auction. The group needs to raise about $18 million to erect the memorial.

A total of 14 sports, political and luxury packages will be auctioned off live on EBay through Oct. 15. An auction featuring many of the same items was originally scheduled for September, but organizers postponed their plans out of respect for victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Packages on auction this month includetwo suite tickets, pit passes and the opportunity to attend the drivers’ meeting at the 90th Indianapolis 500; two tickets to the International Spy Museum, a two-night stay at the Hotel Monaco and lunch at Zola restaurant in the District with former FBI and CIA director William H. Webster; and two tickets to the rock group U2’s concert at the MCI Centerand dinner at the Old Ebbitt Grill.

Bidding begins at$350 for the Indy 500 package, $200 for the spy package and $150 for the U2 package. Mr. Laychak said many of the donations were made after word spread about the fund’s efforts.

“People would hear about it and they’d point people our way,” Mr. Laychak said.

The fund also took advantage of networking.

Lynda Webster, a fundraiser hired for the project, is married to Mr. Webster, who led the FBI from 1978 to 1987 and the CIA from 1987 to 1991.

Mr. Webster said their friend, Barbara Olson, a conservative commentator and an attorney, was killed in the attack at the Pentagon. At the time of her death, Miss Olson was married to then- Solicitor General Theodore B. Olson.

Mr. Webster said he is glad to help bring the memorial to completion.

“It’s important that a memorial be built to remind the world of what happened that day and to honor our loved ones,” Mr. Webster said. “It’s a privilege for me to do what I can to help make the memorial a reality.”

Plans for the memorial — which will honor those killed inside the Pentagon and on the hijacked American Airlines Flight 77, which was crashed into the building — include 184 illuminated benches arranged according to the victims’ ages, from 3 to 71.

Construction on the memorial is scheduled to begin next fall.

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