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Group burial honors victims of attack on Pentagon

Friday, September 13, 2002

ARLINGTON, Va. -- In a single casket, remains that symbolically represent all 184 victims of the attack on the Pentagon were buried with full military honors Thursday at Arlington National Cemetery, the resting place of the nation's unknown soldiers.

In a quiet postscript to the nation's Sept. 11 observances, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld eulogized the dead as patriots who died "here at home, not on a faraway battlefield."

He offered special condolences to the families of five victims whose remains were never identified, including 3-year-old Dana Falkenberg, who died aboard American Airlines Flight 77.

"Today, these five join the unknown of past wars even as we pursue the war that is still unfolding," Rumsfeld said, standing next to the flag-draped casket.

A granite monument with five sides, like the Pentagon, will be placed over the grave next week. It will stand on a hill with a tree-dappled view of the spot where the hijacked jet smashed into the Pentagon.

Names of all 184 victims are inscribed on the 4-foot-5-inch-tall marker.

"It cries out, do not forget. Do not forget, Americans," Brig. Gen. James T. Spivey Jr. said in his funeral address.

Some 1,000 relatives of victims sat solemnly, some hugging and weeping, many holding pictures of their loved ones, as the crowd sang "Amazing Grace" on Thursday.

After the funeral, a caisson drawn by six horses carried the casket behind the U.S. Army Band and two platoons of service members from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines.

The service marked the end of a year of Sept. 11 burials at Arlington.

Individual funerals from the Pentagon attack began here on Sept. 25; the last was April 9.

In all, 64 of the dead had already been buried at Arlington, most of them next to the site of the new monument.

Many other victims, including some who were working inside the Pentagon on Sept. 11, did not qualify for an individual burial site at the nation's most prestigious cemetery, which is limited to active duty personnel and certain former service members.


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