- The Washington Times - Friday, September 13, 2002


With hymns, Scripture readings and speeches from military leaders, relatives and friends paid their respects yesterday at Arlington National Cemetery to the 184 victims of last year's terrorist attack on the Pentagon.

"While there's nothing one of us can do to bring back those loved ones, we can celebrate who they were, how they lived their lives and remember how their lives were lost, in a struggle dedicated to the eternal truth of freedom and the human spirit," Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said.

Mr. Rumsfeld spoke next to a flag-draped casket containing cremated remains from the Pentagon rubble that could not be identified. For five of the victims, the internment in Arlington will be the only burial because no remains were confirmed to be theirs.

The five include a 60-year-old retired Army colonel and a 3-year-old girl killed with her parents and sister aboard hijacked American Airlines Flight 77.

Some 1,000 relatives of victims sat solemnly, some hugging and weeping, others wiping away tears, as the crowd sang "Amazing Grace" and listened to eulogies from military chaplains.

"Know that your country shares your sorrow, mourns your loss and prays that God will comfort you," Mr. Rumsfeld told the families.

A five-sided granite marker bearing the 184 names will be placed over a shared grave at Arlington National Cemetery the nation's most prestigious burial ground holding the unidentified remains.

The 4-foot-5-inch-tall marker, with names of the dead inscribed on aluminum plaques, will be placed over the grave next week. The Army oversees Arlington cemetery.

The casket was carried by a horse-drawn caisson to a hill within view of the repaired Pentagon. Hundreds of family members filed past the grave site. Most of the 64 victims from the Pentagon who already are interred at Arlington lie nearby, under simple headstones.

In some cases, as recovery efforts continued, additional remains were identified after a person was buried. Some of their families chose to have those fragments held for the common burial site, said Jennifer Lafley, spokeswoman for the Army Military District of Washington.

Many of the dead, including some who were working inside the Pentagon on September 11, did not qualify for burial at the nation's most famous cemetery.

Burial at Arlington is generally reserved for active-duty personnel, military retirees, retired reservists who reach age 60, winners of the military's highest decorations and former prisoners of war. Their spouses also qualify.

Among the 275,000 people buried there are presidents John F. Kennedy and William Howard Taft, the crew of the space shuttle Challenger, and veterans of every war the United States has fought.

A year and a day after the terrorist attacks, all of the dead from the Pentagon attack also shared in the honors of Arlington.

"It's nice that they're remembering all the victims," said Steve Push, whose wife, Lisa Raines, died inside the Pentagon. She was buried in November; Mr. Push said he wouldn't attend the additional service.

Some 13,000 people gathered to grieve and hear President Bush's words at the Pentagon memorial service on Wednesday, as September 11 was remembered across the nation. The Defense Department also plans to build a larger monument at the Pentagon.

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