Do you know how the Pentagon came to be such a well-known emblem of American might and safety?
Formerly a part of Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s vast estate, the 1,100 acres of property on which the Pentagon now stands were purchased in 1932. It was taken by the federal government during the Civil War, but it wasn’t until decades later that the edifice was actually conceived of and constructed.
The remaining details are summarized here.
Department of Defense remembers the 9/11 attack at the Pentagon:
— Department of Defense 🇺🇸 (@DeptofDefense) September 10, 2023
Where is the Pentagon?
The original Pentagon site had road access on five sides, so the architects built a structure with five sides. To avoid blocking the view of Washington from Arlington Cemetery, President Franklin D. Roosevelt relocated the building to its current site and preserved its distinctive five-sided shape.
A National Historic Landmark
More than 33,000 people called the Pentagon home during the height of World War II, and the building more than paid for itself. After the conflict ended, officials realized they would need to maintain a substantial military presence. Therefore, the structure continued to serve as the military’s command center rather than being converted into something else.
These days, the Pentagon is home to the Department of Defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the highest-ranking officers of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force.
The structure was officially recognized as a National Historic Landmark in 1992. Around that time, improvements on the building’s four million square feet began because of its advanced age.
How to Visit the Pentagon?
The United States Department of Defense is headquartered in the Pentagon, which is located in Arlington, Virginia, close to Washington, DC. Through the Pentagon Tours program, visitors can take official tours of the facility.
Booking a tour of the Pentagon requires at least 14 days’ notice and no more than 90 days’ notice. Excluding federal holidays, tours take place every other week on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10 AM and 1 PM. Booking in advance is highly encouraged since tours tend to sell out quickly. Tour requests can be sent electronically. Tourists from other countries need to contact the embassy in their own country to arrange a visit.
If you have a Pentagon badge and escort rights, you can show your friends and family around on your own. Contact the Pentagon Force Protection Agency at (703) 697-1001 if you work at or are visiting a Pentagon employee to find out if you need an escort.
What’s the Pentagon Really Like, Inside?
The Pentagon is home to some 30,000 individuals who work to ensure national security. It’s where the Department of Defense is located, but the Air Force, Army, and Navy all have bases here and operate as well. Although many of the staff have some connection to the armed forces or government, civilians are also represented.
The food court and shopping mall provide access to well-known retailers selling expensive clothing and fast food chains. There is also a memorial for the 189 persons who died at the Pentagon during the September 11 terrorist attacks.
A peek inside the Pentagon reveals a shift away from international espionage in favor of data analysis and number crunching.
It’s a hub for distributing federal funds to the correct areas across the military and gathering intelligence to inform strategic planning. As a whole, the Pentagon’s interior is a site where the bureaucratic work that must be done to keep our defenses in fighting shape gets done.
Just How Huge Is the Pentagon?
The Pentagon covers an area of 36 acres, making it a truly massive structure. It’s the largest office building in the world, with a total of 6.5 million square feet of space for workers to utilize. Since the structure has five sides, the name, Penta, which means “five,” seems fitting. Above ground, each structure has five levels.
There are two more floors below, for a total of 17.5 kilometers of ring corridors (5 rings on each floor). It would take longer to travel every inch of the building’s ring corridors than it would to walk from the farthest corner of the Pentagon to the White House across the Potomac River.