The United States Air Force Memorial

The United States Air Force Memorial honors the service and sacrifices of the men and women of the U.S. Air Force and its predecessor organizations, including the Aeronautical Division, U.S. Signal Corps; the Aviation Section, U.S. Signal Corps; the Division of Military Aeronautics, Secretary of War; the Army Air Service; the U.S. Army Air Corps; and the U.S. Army Air Forces.

The Memorial is just a short ride across one of the bridges from D.C.  Located on Air Force Memorial Drive in Arlington (MAP), it sits on a promontory overlooking the Pentagon and adjacent to Arlington Cemetery, and is easily seen on the skyline of D.C. and Northern Virginia.

Featuring three stainless steel spires that soar skyward, the tallest reaching a height of 270 feet, the Memorial’s design is truly representative of flight and the flying spirit of the Air Force. The three spires impart a sense of accomplishment in command of the sky, and evoke the image of the precision “bomb burst” maneuver performed by the United States Air Force Thunderbird Demonstration Team.

The three spires also represent the three core values of the Air Force – integrity first, service before self, and excellence in all that is done – and the Air Force’s total force – active, guard and reserve.

Embedded in granite beneath the three central spires is the Air Force “star,” which has long been emblazoned on Air Force aircraft and serves as the rank insignia of every enlisted member of the Air Force.  Other key elements of the Memorial include a Runway to Glory at the site entrance, a bronze Honor Guard statue developed by the renowned sculptor, Zenos Frudakis, two granite inscription walls located at either end of the central lawn, and a Glass Contemplation Wall that honors fallen airmen.

Interestingly, the view of the Memorial in the larger photo (above) is one that is not usually seen in a photo because I was stopped just after taking it and warned by the police not to photograph the memorial from this angle.  I was told photography was limited to the memorial grounds, and that taking photos from across the street, as this one was, is forbidden due to security reasons.

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