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Wed Sep 11, 2019, 08:17 AM

An unsung hero of the 9/11 recovery: The Muslim engineer who rebuilt the Pentagon crash site as a ch

Source: Washington Post

An unsung hero of the 9/11 recovery: The Muslim engineer who rebuilt the Pentagon crash site as a chapel

By Julie Zauzmer
September 10 at 5:00 PM

Eighteen years ago on a September morning she’ll never forget, Manal Ezzat fled from the burning Pentagon building in such a panicked rush that her hijab fell off.

The next day, when the fires were still burning, Ezzat set to her task of rebuilding. Her vision, and the work of a huge team of public servants, led to what arose from the ashes: a new use for a site forever marked by tragedy.

Today, at the very spot where the plane piloted by terrorists crashed into the Pentagon, there is a chapel. Eighteen years after the mass murder of 184 people here, U.S. military employees of every faith gather daily to pray.

“There was a lot of emotion built into that effort,” Ezzat said this year, as she contemplated the anniversary of a day she still can’t fully comprehend. “We just wanted to make it a peaceful place that could help wipe away the tragedy.”

Ezzat, an Army Corps of Engineers employee who was project manager for the Army’s space in the Pentagon at the time of the attack, knew right away when she and her co-workers were charged with designing the reconstruction that she didn’t want to make that segment of the Pentagon into office space again. No one would want his or her office there, she reasoned. Instead, she searched for a meaningful new purpose.

What emerged was a quiet sanctuary with cushioned blue seats and prayer books from several denominations. ...


Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/religion/2019/09/10/an-unsung-hero-attack-muslim-engineer-who-rebuilt-pentagon-crash-site-chapel/

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