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Foundation seeking inputs for Air Force memorial

By Staff Sgt. C. Todd Lopez

WASHINGTON (April 14, 2004) -- Air Force Memorial Foundation officials are seeking ideas for inscriptions to be placed at the new memorial site.

The official groundbreaking will take place Sept. 15 at the memorial site, just southwest of the Pentagon.

The focal point of the Air Force memorial will be a 270-foot monument featuring three spires that point toward space, said retired Maj. Gen. Edward F. Grillo, Air Force Memorial Foundation president.

“To many, these spires conjure images of a missile or space launch, the Thunderbird’s ‘bomb burst’ formation or a somber (missing)-man flyover of Arlington National Cemetery,” General Grillo said. “Many also see it as a bold representation of the three core values of today’s Air Force: Integrity first, service before self and excellence in all we do.”

The site will also include a parade ground, an 8-foot-high rendering of the Air Force Honor Guard designed to “honor the values and traditions of our Air Force,” two 55-foot-long granite walls and an area called “Walls of Reflection.”

The walls -- seven translucent glass panels arranged around a square center area -- are to bear inscriptions, the general said. Two granite walls, one to the north and one to the south of the parade ground, will also bear inscriptions.

The memorial foundation has formed several committees to develop ideas for what inscriptions or images will be placed on those walls. Retired Gen. John A. Shaud, a longtime member of the Air Force Memorial Foundation’s site and design committee, along with General Grillo, will complete the inscription process.

The committee wants ideas for inscriptions from Airmen and anybody else who has an interest in the service, General Grillo said.

"Anybody can submit," General Grillo said. "That includes those currently serving, those who have served in the past, and those people who simply have a love of the Air Force."

One suggestion came from the daughter of a lieutenant colonel who flew in the Berlin Airlift, the General Grillo said.

"She said her father was proud of his service and that she would like to see something about that operation included at the memorial," the general said.

Suggestions for inscriptions can address specific ideas. They can include images and quotes, as well as thoughts on the categorical groupings or broader themes that should be recognized with inscriptions, General Grillo said.

Concerning past contributions, General Grillo said “you can't just look back to 1947 when the Air Force was officially created. Instead, you must go back as far as 1907 and look at those people that came before us and set the foundation for what we are today."

Suggestions for inscriptions at the memorial can be e-mailed to the inscription committee at afmf@airforcememorial.org.