Air Force Memorial Dedication

There was some confusion as to who was going to cover this event as two Metblogs authors were planning on attending. I guess I was the last one standing, hence the belatedness of this post. Which is sort of fitting, since in the nearly 60 years since formation of the USAF it remained the only branch of the service without a memorial in the Washington area.

15 years and $30 million in the making, the Air Force Memorial was unveiled at a dedication ceremony last Saturday. The weather couldn’t have been better. Visitors had the option of either going directly to the trio of stainless steel spires—located between the Pentagon and the Navy Annex/Fort Myer (map)—or
tour planes and other exhibits in the Pentagon south parking lot. I opted for the latter, which didn’t mean having to miss all those wonderful speeches as they were broadcast live on large screens in two separate seating areas.

I arrived just in time for the first of two fly overs, the first being a timeline of aircraft starting with biplanes and ending with stealth bombers. The highlight of the afternoon was definitely a low level fly over by the famous F-16 Thunderbirds followed by one stunt maneuver in which 4 of the 5 planes shot straight up and out to form arcs reminiscent of the memorial, and the 5th flew through the others while doing continuous barrel rolls. Very impressive.

After the ceremony, country star Lee Ann Womack and her band performed on stage. I didn’t pay much attention to this as I’m not much of a country music fan, but I guess it was a good selection.

Afterwards, I decided to go up for a closer look as I learned free shuttle buses would taxi folks directly to the memorial, which could easily be seen from the parking lot. This turned out to be a mistake, as I waited nearly an hour before getting a seat. Had I known the route, I would have just walked it, which is exactly how I got back (in less than 10 minutes).

Although I did not attend Sunday’s wreath-laying ceremony, I heard the Thunderbirds were back to do their missing-man formation.

The memorial officially opened to the public yesterday. Hey, better late than never, right?

Comments are closed.

Terms of use | Privacy Policy | Content: Creative Commons | Site and Design © 2009 | Metroblogging ® and Metblogs ® are registered trademarks of Bode Media, Inc.