Officially dedicated on Oct. 14, 2006, by President George W. Bush, himself a former pilot with the Texas National Guard, the U.S. Air Force Memorial is one of the newest memorials in the Washington area.
Built to honor the men and women who serve and sacrifice for the U.S. Air Force, architect James Ingo Freed designed the formidable three-spire monument to depict the contrails of three Air Force Thunderbirds, flying in the missing-man formation traditionally reserved for Air Force Funerals.
Two granite inscription walls are located at opposite ends of the monument’s central lawn. The Air Force’s three key values ("integrity first, service before self and excellence in all we do") and other meaningful quotes are engraved on the south wall, while the north wall lists the Air Force’s Medal of Honor recipients.
More than 30,000 people attended President Bush’s keynote address, and it has been an equally popular venue ever since. More than 200,000 people visit the monument annually, and it also hosts roughly 200 special events each year, ranging from commemorative ceremonies to weddings. The United States Air Force Band plays free concerts on Wednesday and Friday evenings throughout the summer.