Sunday, June 1, 2008
Standing on a slight hill overlooking the Pentagon and the site of the September 11 attacks on the same is one of Washington's very newest monuments: The Air Force Memorial.
The memorial is 270 feet in height and designed to look like a bomb burst aerial maneuver: three jets in tight formation suddenly breaking formation and flying in three separate directions. The memorial was commissioned in 1993 and a site just north of the Marine Corps (Iwo Jima) Memorial was originally chosen without objection. However, in 1997, former Marine and Congressman Gerald Solomon (R-NY) and a group of like-minded USMC veterans filed a suit requesting a restraining order on construction. Faced with years of expensive litigation, the Air Force agreed to a site south of the Marine Corps Memorial overlooking the Pentagon and adjacent to the Navy Annex.
According to the monument's website: "The Air Force Memorial is rooted in the necessary symbolic transition of making the medium of the Air Force visible. The Navy has the medium of water, which can always be shown in fountains, and the Army has the medium of land, which can be referenced with mountains and plains; the Air Force has the medium of air, which is very difficult to show. The core of this effort lies in making air tangible, making technology felt.... The Memorial...appears to be soaring; its array of arcs against the sky evokes a modern image of flight by jet and space vehicles. At the same time, it enshrines the past in permanent remembrance of the pioneers of flight who came before, and pays homage to those of the future."
Photo copyright: D.C. Confidential, 05/08