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International Affairs Council Members Awed by Visit to Pentagon

November 7, 2013

A group of students from George Mason University’s International Affairs Council was recently able to take a memorable tour of the Pentagon — the Arlington, Va., headquarters of the U.S. Department of Defense, and the world’s largest low-rise office building.

On Oct. 28, 10 students participated in the hour-long excursion through the building, which featured colorful displays and historic photographs of significant moments in military history. During their nearly mile-and-a-half walk, the group learned about the Pentagon’s rich past, the more than 30,000 employees who work there, and the missions and achievements of the five branches of the U.S. Armed Services, the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Joint Staff. Tour highlights included a day in the life of a Pentagon staff member, stories of America’s five-star generals and the development of American military hardware.

History major and senior Kyle Roll was especially impressed with the “behind-the-scenes” information the tour offered, saying, “The Pentagon trip was a great opportunity to get an inside perspective of the inner workings of our national defense.”

Senior Zi Yang, a history and global affairs major, was most affected by the America’s Heroes Memorial, dedicated to the 184 people killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack on the Pentagon. The memorial features the names of the victims engraved on panels, and a book containing photographs and biographies of those who died. Yang says he was honored to sign the visitor’s log, which will be delivered to the families of those who lost loved ones in the attack.

“By visiting this memorial,” Yang says, “I believe all of us gained a newfound sense of respect for the men and women serving in our military and their most honorable families. They make us very, very proud.”

George Mason’s International Affairs Council offers shared learning experiences for students preparing for careers in international affairs. The group is currently planning to participate in a tour of the U.S. State Department Diplomatic Reception Rooms, a seminar on the foreign policy of the Obama administration and a conference on global governance. More information on the council can be found on its Facebook page.

International Council at Pentagon

The International Affairs Council members at the Pentagon. From left, Cindy Osegueda, Alan Williams, Sofia Kalaitzakis, Alesia Smith, Kyle Roll, Pentagon tour guide, Zi Yang, Nicole Cannell, Pentagon tour guide, Sarah Seligman and Shanelka Payoe. Photo courtesy of Zi Yang