Memories of Sept. 11 echo at rebuilt Pentagon

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen, from left, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, and Vice President Joe Biden stand during the playing of the National Anthem on the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks at the Pentagon in Washington, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

September 12, 2011 3:56:48 AM PDT
The Pentagon Memorial is back open Sunday night after a day of ceremonies; in fact there were two events.

President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama visited the Pentagon Sunday afternoon.

But earlier, there was a ceremony for the victims' families, focusing on the military, and its role that day and in the two wars since.

Beneath a three-story tall American flag, family members gathered to remember the 184 lives lost 10 years ago

Unlike New York, there was no reading of names.

The thousand-plus in attendance heard patriotic music.

A moment of silence marked the moment American Airlines flight 77 struck the building at 9:37 a.m.

Vice President Joe Biden spoke about sacrifice, not just on that day, but in the 10 years and two wars since.

More than 6,000 troops in Afghanistan and Iraq have been killed and while Osama bin Laden may be gone, Al Qaeda remains a threat.

"We will not stop," Biden said. "You will not stop until Al Qaeda is disrupted, dismantled and ultimately defeated."

The most emotional image was the laying of the wreaths on the remembrance benches.

There was one for each victim, from the youngest at age 3, to the oldest at age 71.

Afterward, families, some there for the first time, gathered around their loved one's benches.

Many of them took pictures.

Some may never return, while others say they will use this place for quiet reflection.

Hours later, there was a second ceremony.

President Obama, having already visited ground zero and Shanksville, laid a wreath and shared a moment with family members.