USAF Memorial at Night

The U.S. Air Force Memorial, sited on a promontory overlooking the Pentagon with a commanding view of the Washington skyline, is becoming an increasingly popular stop for busloads of students visiting the nation’s capital.



Following its dedication in 2006, it seemed few people knew of its existence, but it seems to have been discovered in recent years and the hours around sunset seem to be especially popular.


The memorial is the last major work designed by James Ingo Freed, who also designed the US Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC.  It features three stainless steel spires that soar skyward, evoking the “bomb burst” maneuver perform by the Air Force Thunderbirds.


View to East with Honor Guard Sculpture on Right

The small vertical spire in image above—between the left and middle spires of the Memorial–is the Washington Monument.  The lower two-thirds of the Memorial’s spires are filled with concrete and the upper portions are hollow.  Each spire has a transition section between the concrete-filled and hollow segments containing a one ton lead ball that is allowed to roll in a steel damper box.  This feature is intended to stabilize the spires in high winds.


I visited the memorial earlier this week, and the high humidity combined with the floodlights on the South Inscription Wall made for a rather dramatic effect.

Tonight, and every Friday night during the summer, the USAF Band will perform a free concert for the public.  Click here for details


Keep Shooting….


18 thoughts on “USAF Memorial at Night

  1. Wow! Thank you! You are right… I’ve visited Maryland/Virginia for so many years and I have never heard of this. Is it easy to park around there? (Thanks!)


    • Thanks very much for your comments. Yes, parking is quite easy, there is a small lot alongside the Memorial that is fine except possibly for special events when a lot of peole would be showing up at the same time. Buses have their own spaces so that doesn’t pose a problem for people who are driving. Getting to the entrance is a little tricky with all of the highways intersecting in the vicinity so a GPS device (phone, iPad, etc,) to talk you through the access ramps, etc. is probably a good idea. If your going to a concert or the drill team, the Memorial website has some additional options.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a Memorial I have not seen. I will need to go look at it when next we are in WDC. Thanks for the information about the construction and engineering involved in the spires. That’s really interesting. Your photos really make the most of that dynamic shape.


  3. Robin, these are beautiful! I visited the memorial a few months ago, late in the day, and enjoyed it’s quiet beauty (even with all the tourists in attendance). With just my Fuji X100T, I had a difficult time capturing the majesty of the site. The second and third shots are amazing and what I would have loved to have shot! And who knew humidity could be a photographer’s friend? I got a pamphlet about the memorial with its operating hours – is it open as early as sunrise? I don’t remember.


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