By Jim Garamone
WASHINGTON, Sept. 11, 2006 – The media spotlight shone on the Pentagon today, five years after the terrorist attack killed 184 people here. The signs of chaos have been erased, and NBC's "Today" show broadcast from the courtyard of the Pentagon this morning. On the other side of the courtyard, radio hosts from around America interviewed government officials as part of the third annual Radio Day.
On Sept. 11, 2001, the place where Today show correspondent Lester Holt stood was a triage point, as medical personnel and volunteers worked to care for those wounded in the terrorist attack. Thick, black smoke poured out of the building, staining the brilliant sky. But today a soft, fine rain fell as Holt spoke to Pentagon employees and military personnel who have fought in the war on terror.
Across the courtyard, DoD officials led by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld are speaking with radio hosts from 23 different radio stations and two networks, the ABC and Fox radio networks, throughout the day. Ninety interviewees, including a number of Cabinet members, are participating in the event.
"Radio Day provides radio hosts with the opportunity to get access to the whole range of DoD policy makers," said Roxie Merritt, a special assistant in DoD Public Affairs. "It's a chance for the hosts to meet DoD officials face to face, which is something that doesn't always happen.
"It gives them a flavor of the department, and a chance to talk to everybody in one day," she said.