- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 29, 2002

Officials involved with planning a memorial honoring victims of the attack on the Pentagon yesterday said judges will choose the design in December and build it by September 2003.
More than 2,500 proposals have been entered since May in a contest to choose a design, said Carol Anderson-Austra, project manager for the Pentagon Memorial Project. Officials say they expect 1,000 more entries before the competition closes Sept. 11.
"There has been a lot of interest," said Ms. Anderson-Austra. "But it is a special project."
The Pentagon Memorial Project began one month after a hijacked plane crashed into the Pentagon and killed 184 persons. The project, with a budget of $2 million, is being spearheaded by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Department of Defense and National Building Museum in Washington, and a steering committee of family members of the victims.
The groups visited places such as the Lincoln and Vietnam Veterans memorials, discussed potential locations and in April approved one just outside the crash site. The design competition allows anyone around the world to submit a proposal. While the competition officially closed this month, officials said the contractor is still accepting proposals, which continue to arrive from every state and 50 nations around the world.
In October, judges will announce the finalists and ask them to refine their proposals. The judges will announce their final decision on Dec. 23. Judges include a family member of a victim; two former secretaries of defense; Lynne V. Cheney, the vice president's wife; architects; an artist; and Carolyn Shelton, wife of Henry H. Shelton, retired chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Jim Laychak, 43, whose brother David, 40, was killed in the attack, said the families have been integrally involved in the memorial process. The committee is made up of about a dozen family members.
"This is important for us," he said. "We want something that honors our loved ones and is something all Americans can be proud of."
Ms. Anderson-Austra said the family input "has been key" to developing the project that has included disagreement.
"It is part of the process," she said. "If one person wants it big and another wants it small, this is a discussion we need to have. It has been a high-energy process and exhausting."
Mr. Laychak attributed tension in disagreements over memorials at the Pentagon, New York and Shanksville, Pa., to "how raw the emotions still are." But he said he was happy to be involved.
"I owe this to my brother," he said. "I want this memorial to be one where people come away feeling a sense of loss, a sense of my brother," he said. "I want it also to be a place of reflection, a place people come away from also feeling a sense of comfort and a sense of hope.
"In 15 years, people won't even remember what side the plane hit on," he added. "It is easy to forget. This will be a permanent reminder."

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