THE PENTAGON: Astounding the World Since 1915

What comes to the mind on hearing ‘pentagon’? The popular two-dimensional geometric figure, formed of five sides and five angles, I guess. However, THE PENTAGON is the headquarters of the United States Department of Defense, located in Arlington County, Virginia. pentagonIt is unique in its size, being about 6,500,000 sq. ft. Its approximate number of employees totals a number of 28,000 military and civilian employees and about 3,000 non-Defense support personnel. Apart from its size, another exclusive feature of THE PENTAGON is that it has five sides, five floors above ground, five ring corridors per floor and two basement levels, making the construction amazing. It would also amaze you to note that this same building has had its fair share of foreign attacks – the most prominent being very recent. Precisely on the 11th of September, 2001, American airlines flight 77 was hijacked and flown into the western side of the building, killing about 189 people. One might probe: What led to the construction of this astonishing structure? Actually, before the original construction of THE PENTAGON, quite a number of temporary structures had been made for the United States Department of War but none of them solved the Department’s space problem. An urgent need arose for the construction of a larger, more permanent building especially as a result of the break out of World War II. So, a proposal was made by the Secretary of War, Henry L. Stimson to the President Franklin D. Roosevelt in May, 1914 about the need for additional space. After many deliberations, it was agreed that the building should be constructed across Potomac River in Arlington, Virginia. The Congress authorized funding for a new department of on the 28th of July. Philadelphia’s John McShain and Virginia’s Doyle and Russell were selected for the construction of the 77 feet masterpiece. With each of its five sides having 921 feet, the construction was completed in 16 months at a total cost of $83 million. The construction occurred during the period of racial segregation. This affected the structure of the building as the whites and blacks had separate dining areas, lavatories, etc. Thanks to President Roosevelt who ended this discrimination in the US military in June 1941. Apart from it being the Unites States department of War, it also became a spot for protests – among which were; protests against the Vietnam War during the late 1960s, Women Strike of Peace, and one involving a group of 20 demonstrators in 1967 who sat outside the office of the joint Chief of Staff for four days before they were arrested. Apart from the major services THE PENTAGON renders to the nation, minor services could also be seen. It has over 20 of its own fast food operations, including subway, McDonald’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, etc. It also houses a fitness center for the military and civilian Staff, which opened in 2004. Amazingly, it houses a meditation and prayer room. So, just like the five sides of a 2-D pentagon, THE PENTAGON encompasses not only the political phase of the society, but also the socio-economic aspect.

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Esther Olayinka

Esther Olayinka

is an intelligent, friendly, extrovert and jovial young woman from a family of four. Esther is an award-winning essayist who frowns at imitation and believes that “the best will definitely come out of you when you’re truly YOU!” She’s always interested in reading, writing and listening to music
Esther Olayinka

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