The Pentagon, one of the largest buildings in the world, has a base area of about 6,500,000 sq. ft. It is the headquarters of the United States Department of Defense and is located in the Washington DC area. It is shaped like a pentagon with five sides, has five floors above ground, and two basement levels. The architect behind the building’s design was George Bergstrom and the general contractor behind the project was John McShain.
The Pentagon was built during a time where the United States was experiencing racial segregation in some parts of the country and it was legally-mandated for the construction of the Pentagon to be in compliance with the law. This simply meant that they had to build some facilities for the blacks and the whites separately.
The Pentagon is a symbol of the US military and this has led to having a number of protests outside the building. These protests started as early as the 1960’s against the war in Vietnam. In 1972, a bomb was set off on the fourth floor inside the women’s washrooms. This bomb was planted by the Weather Underground Organization to strike back for the Hanoi bombing attacks when the war in Vietnam was coming to a close.
The Pentagon, having been in existence from 1941, underwent major renovations from 1988 to 2011. This major overhaul was called the Pentagon Renovation Program, which consisted of reconstruction of the Pentagon and making general improvements to the building to give it a modern touch.
While renovations were ongoing, an attack took place on September 11th, 2001 when hijackers took control of a plane and intentionally crushed into the west side of the building. No passenger survived the crash. It also led to the death of 55 military personnel and 70 civilians. These attackers were affiliated with the al-Qaeda group. A chapel and an indoor memorial were incorporated into the repairs in remembrance of the lives lost.
In light of this attack, the Pentagon Force Protection Agency was created with the sole responsibility of protecting the Pentagon. Other incidences include two shootings in the year 2010, one where the suspect was killed and another a few months later where the suspect went unidentified. The Pentagon also suffered an earthquake in August 2011, however, there was no major damage reported.
The Pentagon is comprised of offices, a fitness center, 20 fast food restaurants, a prayer room, and the Hall of Heroes, a space dedicated to those who have received the Medal of Honor. Guided tours were readily available to the public before the September attacks, but today, reservations must be made 14-90 days prior to the visit.
The Pentagon is also used to host some large events in its parking lots and other spaces. Its roads are used by many civilians every day to commute between Virginia, Arlington and Washington DC. In 1992, the Pentagon was made a National Historic Landmark, and in 1989, it ranked on the National Register of Historic Places.