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Alumni Relations
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Sacred Ground: Pentagon Memorial Honors 184 Who Died on Sept. 11, 2001

By Adrienne Frank

Ernest Willcher, WCL '68, was a loyal civil servant and a doting father. The District native, who served in the Army for four years and spent 36 years as a civilian employee, including 25 years in the Pentagon, never missed his sons' baseball games or theatre performances.            

On September 11, 2001, Willcher, then a consultant with Booz, Allen and Hamilton, was briefing an Army official in the Pentagon. He was among the 184 people who died in Washington on that fateful day, and whose lives are celebrated and commemorated in the new Pentagon Memorial.            

Located just southwest of the Pentagon, the memorial, which opened on September 11, 2008,  includes 184 benches, arranged according to the victims' ages, from 3 to 71.            

Four other AU alumni died on September 11: Peter Alderman '99, World Trade Center; Linda Gronlund '83, United Airlines Flight 93, Pennsylvania; John O'Neill '74, World Trade Center; and Mark Schurmeier '88, World Trade Center.            

All are immortalized in a memorial off AU's quad, near the Kogod School of Business.