It was high noon on a cloudless day when we visited the Air Force Memorial in Arlington, VA. The Memorial is 270 feet high and 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.
The number three in the vertical design of the spires signifies several elements. “Three” is resonant with significant associations for the Air Force, including the three core values of today: Integrity first, Service before self, and Excellence in all we do. It is also the smallest number of elements needed to define and enclose a space. The spires also reflect an exploding bomb burst as well as the “Missing Man” maneuvers. The spires are asymmetrical and dynamic. Each is a different height, causing the view of the Memorial to be different at every angle.