Long after the presidential wreath was laid, and event scaffolding removed, there remained just the memorial and the mourners.
A group of soldiers honored Lieutenant Col. Karen Wagner Wednesday as they've done every year, with a ceremony at her bench.
"It's powerful, powerful statement for the impression she left on us, the fact that we still talk about her," says Col. Alan Daren.
She died inside the Pentagon on 9/11. Brigadier General Patrick Sargeant's wife was by her side, but survived that day.
"These are wounds that are going to take a while to heal," Sargeant says.
From that band of brothers to the flight attendant fraternity, six American Airline crew members died on board Flight 77 on September 11th.
Many came by the memorial on the 12th anniversary to remember their former colleagues, including a retired flight attendant who said they are all part of that day.
A current American Airline crew member, who made a pilgrimage to the bench of a flight attendant couple, who always flew together, and died together.
"This couple probably touched me more than anyone else that was lost on 9/11," Fran Bertini says.
Just steps away, along with the usual bouquet of flowers, there was an unusual gift: Junior mints, delivered on behalf of Robert Speisman's family.
"I know it means a lot, that someone is able to come here to this bench and bring him flowers and his favorite candy is something I'm more than happy to do each year," says Speisman's friend Ashley Mandel.