United States Air Force Memorial
Dedicated to the men and women that have served or are serving in the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Air Force Memorial is a three-spired monument that stands 270 feet high. The monument, located in Arlington County, VA represents the Air Force Thunderbirds flying in a bomb burst maneuver. The monument was revealed on October 14. 2006 and overlooks the Pentagon. The star that symbolizes the Air Force is encapsulated beneath the spires. The “Runway to Glory” entrance of the monument displays a Glass Contemplation Wall that pays tribute to those in the Air Force that have paid the ultimate sacrifice while serving.
Backstory and Context
The U.S. Air Force Memorial Foundation was established in 1992 and once it was founded, the foundation quickly came up with the idea a memorial be set to recognize those who served or are serving in the Air Force. At the end of 1993, President Bill Clinton signed an order approving the Air Force Memorial. Fundraising for the memorial quickly started once a location for the memorial was discovered.
The initial location for the memorial was near the Netherlands Carillon which is near the Arlington Cemetery. Also near was the U.S. Marine Corps Memorial. Several groups representing the Marine Corps came forward to object to the placement of the Air Force Memorial and delayed plans for the monument. In 1997, prior Marine, turned Congressman Gerald Solomon from New York (NY) came forward with a bill that would “prohibit” any monument to be “within view” of the U.S. Marine Corps Memorial. The Air Force Memorial later found the site where the memorial now sits which is just south of the Arlington Memorial Cemetery.
On October 14. 2006, the memorial was officially dedicated with President George Bush being the keynote speaker. 30,000 people attended the ceremony to see the new memorial. President Bush ended his speech with, “To all who have climbed sunward and chased the shouting wind, America stops to say: your service and your sacrifice will be remembered forever, and honored in this place by the citizens of a free and grateful nation.”
The design of the Air Force Memorial represents the Air Force Thunderbirds performing a “bomb burst”. The Thunderbirds are a squadron of fighter jets that travel the country to perform air shows at various airports and popular beach destinations. The entrance to the memorial has a “Runway to Glory”, an honor guard statue that stands eight-feet tall, two granite material walls that have inscriptions on them and a Glass Contemplation Wall so anyone visiting can pay their respects.
The U.S. Air Force broke away from the U.S. Army Air Corps to become their own entity in 1947. Since then, the Air Force has played crucial roles in the Korean War, the War in Vietnam, the Gulf War and the Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. There have been countless airmen, both enlisted and commissioned that have served in the Air Force and many have paid the ultimate sacrifice, not making it back home. This memorial is a tribute to those that have served.
"United States Air Force Memorial." Wikipedia. September 22, 2017. Accessed September 22, 2017. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Air_Force_Memorial.