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September 11 Memorial: Remembering the victims who died at the World Trade Center and Pentagon, and in Pennsylvania

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David W. Laychak

Age: 40

Hometown: Manassas, Va., USA

Occupation: Civilian budget analyst, U.S. Army

Location: Ground, Pentagon

"As soon as Dave got home from work, he would scoop Jenny up in his arms, ask Zach about his day and then change out of his suit to play basketball, baseball, or hide-and-seek with them. So the glove represents his playfulness, more than anything. He never missed a season of playing softball in the men's leagues wherever we were living. He enjoyed the tournaments and camaraderie. He was a good hitter and outfielder�and he was fast. His entire life he loved sports, and this glove was part of him. He meant for it to be used, and you can tell by looking at it." --Laurie Laychak, wife

Profile:

The worst moment of Laurie Laychak's life was telling her children that their father, David, was killed at the Pentagon. Nine-year-old Zachary and 7-year-old Jennifer sobbed and screamed. Then they began asking their mother questions that were both childish and chillingly mature.

Are you going to have to work? Why couldn't have it been me? What will we do for the family Christmas picture?

David Laychak, 40, was a civilian Army budget analyst for the Pentagon, but around the house, he was the Harry Potter storyteller, the UNO card player, the consummate dad. When the family took their "weekend excursions," as they came to be known, to Monticello or the Civil War battlefields, David would make up stories in the car and lead sing-alongs of "God Bless America."

The Laychaks had moved hesitantly from Sierra Vista, Ariz., to Manassas in December for David's job at the Pentagon. They had a hard time leaving their friends, the wide-open spaces and the warm, dry weather, but believed that the school system here was better.

Plus, Washington and the Pentagon were home. David and Laurie met there in 1984 when both were administrative assistants. They became friends and then, after going out for ice cream one night, started dating.

"From there, we fell in love," said Laurie, 39. "He's so honest and has very strong values and is very compassionate. You can just tell he has a gentle soul."

-- Ian Shapira

<style> #PentmemMemoryWrap { margin-left: 95px; width: 506px; background: #faf7ec; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 11px; color: #2e2e2e; } #PentmemMemoryTop { padding: 14px; } #PentmemMemoryTop img { padding: 0px 0px 0px 10px; } #PentmemMemoryTop .headline { font-size: 12px; font-weight: bold; } #memAuthor { float: right; margin: 2px 20px 20px 0px; font-weight: bold; } .blurb { font-size: 11px; line-height: 16px; margin-left: -92px} </style> <div id="PentmemMemoryWrap"> <div id="PentmemMemoryTop"> <div class="blurb"><p><img src="http://media.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/nation/interactives/pentagonmemorial/images/1664.jpg" align="right" border="0">"Every day my dad would always come home by 5:30. I could always rely on him not to be late. When he would get home we would play sports like baseball, basketball, throw a football, or whatever I wanted to do.</p> <p>When we would play, all of my worries went away. It was all about fun and just having a good time. When we would play, I could talk to him about anything such as school, friends, the girl I liked or whatever was on my mind.</p> <p>To this day I will always remember my dad for this because he made me feel like I was the most important person in the world and that everything was going to be okay."</p> <div id="memAuthor">- Zach Laychak, son <!-- /end memAuthor --></div> <!-- /end blurb --></div> <br> </div> </div>

Source: The Washington Post, AP and washingtonpost.com

The profiles in this feature were written in the months following Sept. 11, 2001.

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Timeline

A day after the 9/11 attacks a makeshift memorial was created on the Arlington Memorial Cemetery fence. Seven years later, the first 9/11 memorial is opening.

Related Coverage:

3-Dimensional Virtual Memorial

Victims Remembered in Maryland

One Family's Loss

Stepping Through the Ashes

Pentagon Under Attack

Five Year Anniversary Coverage


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