September 24th, 2020
In the 1990s, architect James Ingo Freed crafted two of the most well-known Modernist buildings in the United States: the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1993 and the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in 1998. The last project he designed before passing away in 2005, though, is the U.S. Air Force Memorial here in Arlington.
Open to the public free of charge (as of this writing, for pedestrian access only), the Memorial was created to honor “ the service and heritage of the men and women of the United States Air Force and its heritage organizations” with views of both the Pentagon and Arlington National Cemetery. Like the military branch it honors, the memorial’s stainless steel spires reach more than 400 feet into the sky, reflecting sunlight and spotlights, while the granite walls at its base highlight the values like valor, courage, service, sacrifice, and excellence that make up the legacy of the Air Force and those who’ve served.
For visitors who want to delve into the memorial and its significance more deeply, a guided audio tour is also available. With or without the tour’s guidance, you’re sure to feel the sanctity of this space as you gaze upward at the spires or study the inscriptions in person.