Design for Air Force memorial unveiled

  • Published
  • By Senior Master Sgt. Rick Burnham
  • Air Force Print News
For the better part of the past century, the men and women of the Air Force and its predecessors have soared high above the clouds in defense of the nation and freedom-loving people everywhere.

Those ideals will soon be reflected in a memorial designed to reach high into the skyline of the nation's capital, honoring those who have slipped the surly bonds to overcome America's enemies, both at home and abroad.

The design for the new Air Force Memorial was unveiled during a ceremony here March 5. Among those in attendance were Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. John P. Jumper, along with former chiefs of staff Gen. Michael E. Ryan and Gen. David C. Jones. Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Gerald R. Murray and Ross Perot Jr., chairman of the Air Force Memorial Foundation Board of Trustees, were also present for the unveiling.

The memorial will provide a fitting tribute to the millions who have served, are serving today and those who will serve tomorrow, said retired Maj. Gen. Edward F. Grillo, president of the Air Force Memorial Foundation.

"The Air Force does not have a national memorial, so this is certainly long overdue," he said. "We feel this memorial will honor the millions of patriotic men and women who have served in the Air Force and its predecessor organizations -- the aviation pioneers of yesterday. It will serve as a source of pride and tribute to those serving today. And certainly to recognize the nation's military industrial base that has made American airpower the most formidable air force on Earth.

"Most importantly, it will serve as a tribute to those who have paid the ultimate price."

Construction on the memorial, designed by New York architect James Ingo Freed, will begin in 2004 and be completed in September 2006, coinciding with the 59th anniversary of the Air Force, Grillo said. The design features three "spires" reaching heights of 270, 230 and just above 200 feet. The memorial will be located just southwest of the Pentagon on a "promontory" piece of land, Grillo added.

"The three spires will represent the Air Force in a manner that is projecting itself into the air and space -- gracefully yet boldly," he said.