Pentagon Transformed for Sept. 11 Ceremony

ARLINGTON, Va. -- The secretary of defense, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and 12,000 invited guests will join the president at the Pentagon Wednesday for a ceremony that's expected to last one hour.

As the construction clock at the Pentagon counts down, the area around it, once full of equipment and building materials, has been transformed into a stage for Wednesday's observance.

Seats and stands are in place to hold 12,000 invited guests, and perhaps the most important among them are the families and friends of those who lost their lives at the Pentagon.

The ceremony begins at 9:30 a.m., with a moment of silence at 9:37 a.m., to mark the approximate time a plane hit the Pentagon one year ago. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and President George W. Bush will each give an address.

At 1 p.m., Wednesday, there will be a second ceremony, an appreciation ceremony to honor the Phoenix project construction workers who rebuilt the damaged building.

In order to keep the area around the Pentagon secure, there will be one major road closing. The stretch of Washington Boulevard that runs next to the Phoenix site will be closed from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. Tuesday there were signs posted along Interstate 395 to warn commuters to plan ahead.

Officials said they do expect traffic to be slow during the morning rush. Virginia Department of Transportation spokesman Bruce Williams said, "I would advise them to leave early if they can or pick tomorrow as a tele-work day. That's what I'm going to do."

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