9/22/2006 - ARLINGTON, Va. (AFPN) — The Air Force Memorial's stainless steel spires were finished Sept. 21 with the placement of the top segment of the third spire, providing the first complete view of the memorial's design.

Located on a promontory overlooking Arlington Cemetery, and reaching a height of 270 feet, the memorial will transform the greater Washington, D.C., skyline and provide visitors with a commanding view of the nation's Capitol., according to retired Maj. Gen. Edward F. Grillo Jr., president of the Air Force Memorial Foundation.

“The reality has lived up to the dream that we've had for almost 15 years since we embarked on this project to develop the memorial,” said General Grillo. “As we remove the cranes and peel away the blue plastic covering to reveal the stainless steel in the next few weeks, the nation will finally be introduced to this lasting tribute to the men and women of the Air Force and its predecessor organizations.”

Designed by the late James Ingo Freed, an architect with Pei Cobb & Partners, the spires are evocative of the bomb-burst flying formation made famous by the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds.

“We are expecting over 30,000 people to join with us to celebrate the official dedication of the memorial,” the general said. “As an Air Force veteran, I am incredibly excited about the planned events and wish to extend an invitation to all Americans to join us in Arlington Oct. 14.”

Click on model photo.