WASHINGTON – The Pentagon announced Thursday that it would become a tourist destination when a new memorial building for the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001 opens next month.
The Defense Department said in a news release that it expected between 45,000 and 60,000 people to visit the memorial on Sept. 11this year, and up to 2 million people will tour the site in a year.
The memorial will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, tocommemorate the 184 deaths when terrorist-hijacked American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the building, according to the Pentagon.
Considering that the Pentagon is a “unique place,” the Defense Department said it will adopt measures to “ensure the important work in the building continues undisturbed.”
“The fact that we’re going to have a tourist attraction here has been a challenge for us,” said Steven E. Calvery, director of the Pentagon Force Protection Agency.
“The Pentagon reservation is not like the (National) Mall in Washington, where it’s designed for visitors. We’re just not designed that way,” Calvery said.
According to Pentagon rules, no photography is allowed at the Pentagon buildings, but visitors can take pictures of the memorial.
“We will still reserve the right, if we see some suspicious activity, to take actions,” Calvery said.