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Pentagon memorial trees.

At the Pentagon, the first completed memorial to commemorate the tragedies of 9/11 was unveiled on the seventh anniversary of the attacks. Designed by Keith Kaseman and Julie Beckman, the memorial features 184 benches, one for each victim of the attack on the Pentagon. The benches, which are cantilevered over small, illuminated reflecting pools, are inscribed with the names of the victims and arranged in order of age, from three-year-old Dana Falkenburg to 71-year-old John Yamnicky. The units are also personalized in that their position, which leads the observer to look toward either the sky or the building, tells whether the victim was in the Pentagon or a passenger on Flight 77.

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Also featured in the memorial, among the benches and lit pools, are 90 paperbark maple trees planted with the support of AMERICAN FORESTS members and in partnership with the US Forest Service. The trees, which range from eight to 12 feet tall and can grow up to 30, were chosen for their vibrant red foliage in fall as well as their distinctive peeling bark. They also hold their leaves longer into winter than many other species, which the designers hope will give the sense that time within the memorial stands still.

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AMERICAN FORESTS has a long history of planting memorial trees, starting back in the 1920s when we launched a planting campaign to honor those who had lost their lives in World War I. First Lady Florence Harding herself planted the very first memorial tree in Washington DC in 1921.

An article in our magazine in 1918 applauded the concept of memorial groves as a way of honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifice to thiscountry, describing the trees as "a continual inspiration for the living who look upon them and are sheltered by them from sun and storm."

With sponsors such as Eddie Bauer, AMERICAN FORESTS has planted thousands of trees for the victims of the 9/11 attacks in memorial groves in New York, Virginia and Pennsylvania. The Living Memorial Tree Foundation, established by Prince Albert of Monaco with AMERICAN FORESTS, will dedicate the Living Memorial Tree Grove of 3,000 trees in New York this year. Plans are unfurling for a memorial to the victims of United 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, and AMERICAN FORESTS will add to the 40 trees we planted there.

Since the attack on the Pentagon, AMERICAN FORESTS has also planted memorial trees at the reconstructed Pentagon Metro entrance, at the historic Carlyle House in Arlington, and on public spaces throughout northern Virginia.

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At the Pentagon Memorial, the design team incorporated trees to "place an emphasis on life," which flourishes despite the tragedies. The light playing through the tree canopy and hitting the engraved benches and reflecting pool makes for an intimate and moving experience. As expressed by the Pentagon Memorial Family Steering Committee, the memorial will he "a place of solace, peace, and healing."

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Title Annotation:News from the world of Trees
Publication:American Forests
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2009
Words:490
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