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The Air Farce Memorial — Why Now?
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The Air Farce Memorial

New Air Force Symbol

The United States Air Force Memorial was dedicated yesterday, so there will probably be a plaque on it somewhere listing the name of the FANG AWOL living at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and his incompetent SecDef, Rumsfeld. At least Michael W. Wynne, Secretary of the Air Force has ties to the Air Force [as well as General Dynamics and Lockheed Martin] and the Air Force Chief of Staff, General T. Michael Moseley, KBE hasn’t been indicted…yet.

When Bill Clinton signed Public Law 103-163 in 1993 the plan was to have the memorial ready for the fiftieth anniversary of the Air Force becoming an independent service, September 18th, 1997, but that was entirely too optimistic.

Instead they decided to celebrate the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings, or the 80th anniversary of the publication of Winnie-the-Pooh, because I doubt they sought to celebrate the loss of 60 B-17s in a single raid on Schweinfurt in 1943.

I would guess that the dedication was scheduled to provide a military show in Washington prior to the mid-term elections, but I’m rather cynical.

As for the “design elements”, it looks like three stainless steel skis stuck in the ground. The designer said it represented the contrails produced by the Thunderbirds maneuver, the “bomb blast”.

Those are not contrails; they are the result of smoke generated within the aircraft. There are five aircraft involved: four generating smoke in vertical climbs and the fifth that executes rolls during the climb to produce a spiral.

That is a circus, not the Air Force. Aerobatics can result in courts martial in the Air Force. The Thunderbirds are part of the marketing campaign, not a real element of the Air Force mission. They tie up a dozen $20 million aircraft to put on shows.

Having a memorial that was inspired by a carnival sideshow is pretty damn demeaning. It is to be hoped that a hurricane will eliminate this eyesore.


1 Steve Bates { 10.15.06 at 11:46 pm }

Inspired by contrails? Neocontrails, I’d say. (Didn’t Wesley Crusher get in big trouble for performing a maneuver similar to that “bomb blast” with other cadets at Starfleet Academy?)

I do not understand the need to make memorials either ugly or tacky. It is possible to do something truly different and still have the effect of evoking the intended state of mind: the first time I ever saw the Vietnam memorial, with people all about, tracing lost loved ones’ names from the Wall, leaving flowers, etc., I was deeply moved… and the memorial couldn’t be simpler, more elegant or more sobering. Memorials are not the place to be cute or clever.

2 Bryan { 10.16.06 at 12:08 am }

I would think that the simple stones of Arlington are the only reminder that anyone would ever need. The $30 million would have been better spent on the needs of those serving and their families.

3 andante { 10.16.06 at 4:34 pm }

My first thought on reading of the dedication was “about damn time”, but I have to agree – it’s hardly fitting.

If they couldn’t have their $20M ‘victory’ celebration, I guess a $30M memorial will have to do.

4 Bryan { 10.16.06 at 7:22 pm }

Only about 4% of Air Force personnel are on flying status. It takes 19 people to support that single flyer, and something should be said about them. A bomber on the ground surrounded by the flight crew and ground crew would have been more representative.

5 andante { 10.16.06 at 8:49 pm }

…and most certainly could have done a better and far less expensive job designing the memorial