Nearly 2,500 individuals or groups have registered their intent to take part in an international competition to design an outdoor memorial honoring victims of the Sept. 11 attack at the Pentagon.
Registrations have been made by people from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico as well as 50 other countries on six continents. Sept. 4 was the deadline to register.
"We believe that each entry honors those who died, so we're really thrilled by the numbers," said Mary Beth Thompson, spokeswoman for the Baltimore district office of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which is managing the memorial project for the Department of Defense.
The Army Corps launched the competition in June, identifying as the location for the memorial a 2-acre parcel near the site where American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon, resulting in 189 deaths.
Prospective participants have been told that the memorial must "embody the deeply personal tragedy that the events of that day visited on the families of the victims" as well as celebrate the "principles of liberty and freedom that this terrible event reawakened."
Plans call for visitors to have access to the memorial from the Pentagon subway stop or by walking through a tunnel that links a parking lot and the Pentagon area.
The winning entry must integrate "physical constraints" to keep visitors 165 feet away from the Pentagon, however, and "no memorial should be tall enough to strike the Pentagon should the memorial for any reason fall toward the building," according to material prepared for competition participants.
The competition was free and open to anyone, from schoolchildren to professional artists, architects and landscape architects.
There were 2,456 registrations. Registrants have until Wednesday to submit a 30-by 40-inch board outlining their vision for the memorial. From those submissions, as many as five finalists will be selected in October to take several more weeks to develop their visions in greater detail.
All of the finalists will receive stipends of $20,000 to defray the costs of developing and presenting their designs. A winner will be selected in December. The jury will be composed of professionals, government representatives and victims' family members.
The crash of Flight 77 resulted in the deaths of 64 passengers and crew members aboard the aircraft and 125 service members and civilians at the Pentagon.
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