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The winning design for the Pentagon Memorial is shown during the announcement Monday. The memorial will be built on a 1.93-acre plot on the Pentagon reservation near the spot where the attack occurred.

The winning design for the Pentagon Memorial is shown during the announcement Monday. The memorial will be built on a 1.93-acre plot on the Pentagon reservation near the spot where the attack occurred. (Sandra Jontz / S&S)

ARLINGTON, Va. — Alexandria Patricia Dunn will never meet her daddy.

But one day, when the child is old enough, she’ll have a place to visit, where she can sit beneath the lacy shade of maple trees and think about the man whom she resembles strongly.

And future generations also will have that place, said “Allie’s” mother, Stephanie Dunn, whose husband, Cmdr. Patrick Dunn, was killed while working at the Pentagon during the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Dunn was pregnant with Allie when the attack occurred.

“It’s important, not for the next 10 years, but 100 years from now … that people have a place where they can go and feel what we lost that day,” Dunn said.

That place will be designed by New York architects Julie Beckman and Keith Kaseman, who met several years ago on their first day of graduate school at Columbia University.

Unveiled Monday, the memorial, to be called “Light Benches,” places an emphasis on life, and will be one that “fosters personal interpretation.”

In other words, it will inspire visitors to be able to think “without being told what to think or how to feel,” said Kaseman, 31.

“We wanted a place the nation could be proud of,” added Beckman, 30. “This place had to be like no other place, like no other memorial, because Sept. 11 was like no other day.”

The memorial will be made up of 184 benches, one for each of the victims either aboard American Airlines Flight 77 or working in the Pentagon when the airliner crashed into the building.

The name of each victim will be etched into the faces of the benches, which will sit atop individual pools of water lit from underneath.

The benches will be arranged according to the victims’ ages, with the youngest placed at the entrance of the memorial — a change the designers incorporated after meeting with families.

“We wanted people to know that five children died,” Kaseman said. The first bench will bear the name of 3-year-old Dana Falkenberg, whose sister, Zoe, and parents also were killed on the flight.

The gravel-covered field will be hard enough to accommodate wheelchairs and strollers, “but soft enough to hear your footsteps,” Beckman said.

The designers want maple trees planted throughout because of the “lacy shade” they provide, Kaseman said.

The memorial will be built on 1.93 acres on a plot in the actual flight path Flight 77 took just before slamming into the building.

“It’s where the people had their final moments,” said Carol Anderson-Austra, manager of the Corps of Engineers’ Pentagon Memorial Project.

A team of architects, defense employees and families of victims made up the jury who picked the winning design from more than 1,000 entries.

“It really satisfied the needs of the families for a place of comfort and beauty, yet also satisfied needs of those around the world and the nation by explaining what occurred there,” said Wendy Chamberlain, whose father and stepmother, Robert and Zandra Ploger, were aboard the jetliner.

Pentagon construction expects said the memorial will cost between $5 million and $7.5 million and will be paid for by contributions, and possibly with money paid into a contingency fund more than a decade ago by nations that fought in the Persian Gulf war in 1991, said spokesman Dick McGraw.

Pentagon officials plan to award a contract to a builder on May 16 and break ground a month later.

The memorial is set to be dedicated on Sept. 11, 2004.

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