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ARLINGTON, Va. — The sixth anniversary of the terrorist attack on the Pentagon was marked quietly here with a small wreath-laying ceremony exactly at the time and spot where the jet hit the building, killing 184 Americans.

After a moment of silence to honor the dead, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Marine Gen. Peter Pace placed the floral offering and rendered honors while a bugle played taps.“Taps.”

Watching the ceremony under rainy skies was an audience that included family members of those who had died, top defense officials, members of Congress, and Pentagon workers.

Quietly sobbing into a tissue and clutching a camouflage-covered Bible was Mazie Lawson, mother of victim Cecelia Lawson Richard. Richard, 41, an accounting technician for the Army, had worked for the Defense Department since graduating from high school. She left behind a husband, Michael, and three sisters.

“No, it doesn’t get easier,” as time goes by, Lawson said. “It just gets harder and harder.”

The annual Sept. 11 commemorations have become so emotionally difficult, she said, that this is her last one.

Pace said that those who work in the Pentagon will continue to remember and honor those killed. “We cannot touch our loved ones today. … Therefore, we ask God to hug them for us. … We love, we miss them, and we will serve the nation in their honor.”


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