It was dark as we walked toward the 9/11 Pentagon Memorial. People told me to go after sundown to see the lighted benches and to hear the rippling water that ran steadily beneath them.
At first, the night time walk around the Pentagon building seemed precarious. Where was everyone, and did they know we were strolling around the biggest military repository of information looking for the memorial? I felt so insignificant next to this flattened construction, but when we reached the memorial and saw the rows and rows of benches shaped like wings in front of us, a deep well of awe elevated my being.
The cool summer breezes rustled the crape myrtle leaves and whispered in every language the words of sanctification.
Holy, holy holy. Kadosh, kadosh, kadosh.
You who are the God of all the Units.
Forgive us our trespassing as we traverse our tragedies.
Names written, ages honored, space given to remember what happened here nine years ago.
Some names we knew. Others we knew of.
Something wasn't right, I declared to my friend Toby. Why this big grassy area? Did they leave something out?
Oh, no, she said. There is a space between the three-year-old child who died and the children who were in their teens. There is a gap that does not need to be filled. The rows of benches were designed according to the year the person was born.
We sat on the edge of the memorial looking out into the distant mini-tract lighting beyond time. We saw the calm after the storm of hatred and malice burned us. We came to honor and remember our fellow Americans. We felt a deep longing for yesterday, when all our troubles seemed so far away.