treaded daily to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) building.
On several of these trips I kept bumping into more fascinating US history. One of these was the Clara Barton
Museum. I walked past it several times before noticing it and then wandered in one morning. It was under construction but there was a lady at a front reception area, and while we both only had a few minutes she gave me a very quick run down on Clara and her activities of which I was somewhat familiar.
From about 1900 to 1997 the building in the centre above sat idle and was about to be demolished when a curious workman decided to explore the upper floors. On the third he discovered evidence... a find of a lifetime. The building third floor office was none other than that of famed Clara Barton, internationally known as the very woman who brought the Red Cross to the United States.
Clara's destiny began as a teen when she spent two years learning about medicine the hard way... while applying it to very sick siblings... who survived. Then came the start of the Civil War. When a regiment marched into town they were attacked and many were left horribly mangled. She took supplies from her home out to treat the men. It would become part of her calling throughout the war. By war's end she had expanded her volunteer work to helping to locate missing soldiers. After she took her idea to President Lincoln, and received his blessings... but no pay to begin with, she turned her offices on the third floor of this very building into what she called... The Office of Correspondence with Friends of the Missing Men of the United States Army.
From here she would marry up incoming info with that already gathered and broken down by state. Soon Clara would be visited by a fellow who had survived the horrors of Andersonville and escaped with a smuggled out list of about 13,000 soldiers who were buried at the that horrid camp. She and this soldier would get financing and take 42 headstone carvers back to Andersonville and using the list and locating the graves they would then mark them accordingly. She would later be credited with finding graves of over 22,000 of the 67,000 that remained missing at war's end. In some cases her office would even reunite the soldiers with their families. Illness caused her to shut down the office in the late 1860's and travel to Europe where she met others involved in the Red Cross and would ultimately start a Red Cross, the first... in North America... More on Clara will follow in a future blog.
What a story of Women's History Month in Canada !
I asked about tickets and costs and was told to check it out inside. Entering, I soon learned that whilst the very spot were the President was shot, had been rebuilt and is indeed open to the public, it was currently being set up for some sort of a performance that night, and was, obviously now a working theatre yet again, after being shut down for a time in the 1860's after the shooting.
I decided to come back in a few days to take the tour but the government heard I was in town and decided to shut down and thus I never did get back to see the actual theatre itself. The centre image shows the theatre, the tall building in the centre, as it was in the 1860's and the third image shows it as it stands today.
While getting directions I noticed their shoulder flashes. It said something about being pentagon police. I was right across the road from it, and it was such an incredible large building all I could see was one side and did not know that I was at the darn Pentagon... or at least across the road.
They responded to some off the cuff questions and then told me about the 911 memorial and off I went to see this incredible site.
But first... the pictures above.
I was clearly told that taking pictures of the building were not allowed. Those above are from the internet. The first shows the flight path that we are told was taken by American Airlines flight 77 at 9.37 am on September 11, 2001. The second shows the horrible disaster left after the explosion took place and the third shows a later image, during repair work. A careful study of the picture and many others on the net clearly show a BRIGHTER WHITE at the area later repaired.
One hundred and eighty four individuals lost their lives in this attack on the Pentagon on September 11th. They ranged in age from three years old to 71. One hundred and twenty five of these victims were men and women who worked at the pentagon. The remaining 59 were passengers of the airline.
Some 20 million dollars were spent on the creation of this memorial. To the left you see US service personnel unveiling the memorial and a special unveiling event opened only that day to the families of the victims. To the far right there is a woman, possible a family member who sits in deep grief probably at her loss, and sits at night when the memorials are illuminated. The entire memorial is open to the public at no charge, and remains open 24 hours a day 7 days a week all year round.
Each one of these memorials is actually arranged in a time line. There is a small ribbon of metal representing each year of birth that travels across the entire acre plus memorial. Each line travels along the very path of Flight 77. If you go to the head of the line you will see a date. This is the date of the year that the victims along that line were born in. Each individual memorial has a name on it of the victim and either faces towards the building or off in the other direction and looking into the sky. Those facing towards the building tell that the victim memorialized was working in the building that dreaded day. Those facing in the other direction, have you looking at the name plate of the victim and then up to the sky from which they drew their last breaths of life.
The very emotional memorial on the left with flowers is for the three year old child on the plane. Another was too moving to take a picture of. It had a little teddy bear on it. In the right image you can see memorials facing in both directions.
There are 85 trees clustered around the entire monument. They do not represent any one victim, but all. Each will grow to a height of 30 feet and will offer all below a cool shade.
The reverse of the memorial plaque at left, contains the names of the victims inscribed on its reverse, as shown in the center photo. At the right is a date marker showing that those along that date line were born just 21 years ago.
On Friday we will visit Arlington, if my GPS is willing!