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Air Force Finally to Get a Memorial

March 12, 2003

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Plans for an Air Force Memorial finally got off the ground Wednesday.

The National Capital Planning Commission approved a towering design of three curved steel spikes on a triangular base. A memorial chamber of glass panels will be located at the base.

Edward F. Grillo Jr., president of the Air Force Memorial Foundation, told commissioners the design was meant to evoke flight. The sculpture will be reminiscent of the white contrails left by the Air Force Thunderbirds as they perform their signature high climb and peel-away maneuvers.

It has taken a long time to get approval for a design.

In 1993, Congress approved plans for a memorial for the Air Force _ the only branch of the armed services without one.

It designated a site near the Marine Corps’ Iwo Jima Memorial in nearby Arlington, Va., but the Marines protested and the matter got tangled in a lawsuit. The new site will also be in Arlington, near the Naval Annex, on property overlooking the Pentagon.

The Federal Aviation Administration had to approve the design, whose highest spike is 270 feet tall.

Planning commissioners expect the memorial to be especially popular at night, because it will have good views of downtown and other monuments. They asked that the monument be open until 10 p.m., and for additional parking beyond the 25 planned spots.

Plans call for a groundbreaking next year and completion of the $38 million project by 2006.


On the Net:

National Capital Planning Commission: http://www.ncpc.gov

Air Force Memorial Foundation: http://www.airforcememorial.org

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