Banakas | Photography

This shot was taken using a NIKON D5000 at ISO 1600, f/11, for 1/3200sec

The inscription reads “Yeneneh Betru”.

This is a name. This is his story.

Dr. Yeneneh Betru was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and in 1982 immigrated to the United States with the dream of becoming a physician based on a promise he had made to his grandmother, to cure her of all that ailed her.

As a young man, full of drive and ambition, who served as a great example to his whole family, he traveled around the country training hundreds of physicians in a new practice of medicine referred to as Hospitalist Care.

In 1998, Dr. Betru flew back to Ethiopia to be by the side of his ailing grandmother and to help her doctors. Due to the lack of equipment and supplies she, unfortunately, passed away. “With poor facilities and absent equipment”, Dr. Betru vowed to help enhance the condition of medical facilities in Ethiopia. Over time, Dr. Betru had acquired half a dozen dialysis machines, solutions and supplies and was in the process of creating a kidney dialysis clinic in his hometown of Addis Ababa.

It was while Dr. Betru was working with the Ethiopian government to figure out the location for the clinic that the horrific acts of September 11, 2001 ended his dream.

Dr. Yeneneh Betru was only 35 years old.


What you see here in this image is a bench that is a memorial to this man at the Pentagon Memorial. Each of the 184 men, women, and children that died on that day, at this location, has a bench similar to this one as a memorial to their lives and the events of that day.

This memorial is very surreal and having the knowledge of how this memorial is laid out proved to be very beneficial. It actually wasn’t until after my initial visit here, that I learned about the way everything was tied together.

As I had mentioned, there are 184 benches that appear to form out of the ground. Under each bench is a pool of water that is constantly flowing. At night a light shines from under the water illuminating the bottom of the bench.

At first visit it appeared as though the benches were facing different directions and just randomly spread out. But what is actually happening is that as you stand in front of one of the benches, looking at the name, you would be facing the direction of either the Pentagon or the open sky. If you were looking at the name and was the Pentagon, then that person was in the Pentagon at the time of the attack. And looking the other direction, that person was on American Airlines Flight 77.

In addition to the direction the benches face, the location of the bench was determined by the victim’s age. Starting with Dana Falkenberg, 3 to John Yamnicky Sr., 71.

This is a very beautiful memorial of a very sad event.

Read more of Yeneneh Betru’s story

Find out more about the Pentagon Memorial

Categories: People

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