It is a bit hard to get to, though you can see it easily from the 395. The folks building roads in the DC area love to make you change lanes, and you need to drift right, and right, and right again across about a zillion lanes of traffic. The signs are barely there, they could not be more than a couple feet square and a couple dozen yards before the road you need to take.
But finally, there you are. The US Air Force Memorial. Situated on a bit of land next to the Navy Annex, its spires rise out of the ground and soar skyward. As you walk the grounds, the quiet of the place seeps into you, despite being surrounded by asphalt and traffic.
The quiet is deeper than immediately apparent. As you stand under the spires and look to the distant Washington DC skyline, a large flag comes into view. It is then that you realize that here, 6 years ago, a plane taken over by evil in human form flew over. Low enough to see and hear far too much, it crashed moments later into the side of the Pentagon.
On that day, people stood in parking lots, sat in cars stuck in the traffic, jogged along paths and sidewalks, and in a moment were forever changed by their witnessing of history. Many still hear the plane in their dreams.
On that day, it was hitting or missing the traffic. A TDY. A transfer to a job a month before. Stopping for coffee on the way into work. A newly reinforced building section, offices miraculously empty because so many had yet to move in. All that stood between life and death on that day was a moment, a split second decision.
On that day, there was no rank. Military and civilian from the very top of the ranks to the very bottom dug in the rubble, and listened to the firefighters, and prayed.