A live building for all time

Sunday, October 21, 2001

For those of us who remember the days when the Pentagon was built (ground broken Sept. 11, 1941, dedicated Jan. 15, 1943) it has become an almost living structure. We hear that the Pentagon says this, reports that, as if really speaking. In my mind's eye, I see how the editorial cartoonists would draw their bubbles above to enclose whatever the Pentagon was saying on a particular day.

For me, it was not difficult to visualize little feet and legs, like those of a centipede, underneath all five sides. The windows on the outside walls as well as those on the inside walls surrounding the courtyard in the center, were eyes, a multitude of eyes, like certain insects have.

Am I saying it is some kind of bug? Not exactly. More like a living, breathing epicenter for our nation's welfare and protection.

When pictures of the designed building first came out in the newspapers, everyone seemed well pleased -- a five sided wheel with an open hub. I tried to remember if I had ever seen or heard of such a building.

In Frank Lloyd Wright's or Buckminster Fuller's drawings there may have been such designs. Our old farm barn had a lot of protruding sheds and additions which, if counted in the perimeter design, may be classified as a hexagonal or octagonal building.

During the next two years we followed the pictorial construction from that groundbreaking date, Sept. 11, 1941. Do you notice something familiar about Sept. 11th? Exactly 60 years ago on that date the ground breaking ceremony for the famous building took place. Then, on that same date, some 60 years later, came the evil and viscous attack by the terrorists.

But, they only succeeded in taking out a part of it. Already I can see the cartoonists showing what the "live Pentagon" is saying, such as, "Ouch!" "What the ___?" "Bring on the repairmen, ASAP!"

So, in the coming days I'll watch whatever walls were destroyed go up again. Neither the building nor the spirit of those who will rebuild it will go gently into that good night.

Three years of reconstruction? I think not. But, I'll wait and keep listening to what the building is saying.


Jean Bell Mosley is an author and longtime resident of Cape Girardeau.

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