Inaugurated in October 2006, the soaring Air Force Memorial is dedicated to the “Men and Women of the United States Air Force and its Heritage Organizations”.
Located in Arlington, Virginia, the Air Force Memorial was designed by architect James Ingo Freed. Simple in design, Freed’s monument includes three curved stainless steel spires that stretch about 270 feet (82 meter) into the air. Meant to evoke the image of the precision “bomb burst” maneuver performed by the United States Air Force Thunderbird Demonstration Team, the three graceful spires are also designed to represent the U.S. Air Force’s command of the skies.
The spires sit upon a granite Air Force “star”, a symbol found on every U.S.A.F. plane. Other parts of the memorial include a “Runway to Glory” and a bronze Honor Guard statue by Zenos Frudakis. There’s also a Glass Contemplation Wall that honors fallen airmen, and two granite inscription walls, one situated at either end of the lawn. Attractive bluestone paths join the Honor Guard and the Contemplation Wall.
The Air Force Memorial was funded almost entirely by private contributions. Numerous public events happen there, including concerts by the United States Air Force Band and wreath-laying ceremonies for national military holidays like Veterans’ and Memorial Days.
Predecessor organizations of the U.S. Air Force that are also honored at the memorial include 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.