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Memorial Dedication to Launch AF’s 60th Anniversary Observance

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 12, 2006 – The nation’s youngest military service will kick off its 60th anniversary observance this weekend with the official dedication of the U.S. Air Force Memorial here.

The memorial, composed of three bold and graceful spires soaring skyward to a height of 270 feet, will be dedicated and given to the nation by the Air Force Memorial Foundation at an official ceremony at 1:30 p.m. Oct. 14 on a three-acre promontory next to Arlington National Cemetery and a short walk from the Pentagon.

Officials said the memorial honors the millions of men and women who have served in the Air Force and its predecessor organizations, including the U.S. Signal Corps, the Army Air Corps and the Army Air Forces. It pays tribute to the dedication, sacrifice and contributions of those who pioneered the skies, those who shape the air, space and cyberspace victories of today, and those who will continue to do so in the future, officials added.

The memorial hosts a paved "Runway to Glory" at the site entrance, a larger-than-life bronze Honor Guard statue, two granite inscription walls located at either end of a central lawn, and a glass contemplation wall that reflects the missing-man formation, the final tribute given to fallen airmen. The memorial's surrounding spaces will be landscaped to create a memorial park and parade ground overlooking the nation's capital.

The dedication ceremony will include an aerial review consisting of aircraft from the 1930s through modern day, from the B-17 and B-24 of World War II fame to the B-2 Spirit and C-17 Globemaster III of the global war on terror, as well as a five-ship "Heritage Flight" featuring the P-51 Mustang, the F-86 Sabre, the F-4 Phantom, the F-15C Eagle and the F-22A Raptor. The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds will also perform a flyover and "bomb-burst" maneuver reflecting the design of the memorial's three spires.

Due to space limitations at the Memorial site, overflow seating will be available in Pentagon South Parking with live simulcast of the dedication.

The Air Force also will host an open house in Pentagon South Parking from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Oct. 14. In addition to the live simulcast of the dedication from 1:30 to 3 p.m., the open house will feature performances by the U.S. Air Force Drill Team and the U.S. Air Force Band’s high-energy "Max Impact" ensemble, a "Heritage Parade of Uniforms," a concert by country singer Lee Ann Womack and a wide variety of interactive displays and exhibits showcasing America's airmen, Air Force equipment, technology and aircraft.

Static aircraft displays will include the Predator and Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicles; UH-1, HH-60, MH-53 helicopters; the CV-22 tiltrotor aircraft; and an F-35 Joint Strike Fighter display model.

The weekend will conclude with a memorial service Oct. 15 at 10:30 a.m. at the memorial site. Officials will participate in a wreath-laying ceremony punctuated by a missing-man formation flown by F-16s. Again, due to space limitations at the site, overflow seating will be available in Pentagon South Parking with live simulcast of the service.

Immediately following both the official dedication ceremony Oct. 14 and the memorial service Oct. 15, shuttles will transport the public from Pentagon South Parking to the Memorial site to view the Memorial.

The weekend's events are easily accessible from the Pentagon Metro station, and the public is highly encouraged to use the Metro as there will be numerous road closures in the area and parking will be extremely limited, officials said.

The Memorial will be closed to the public Oct. 16 while the grounds are restored following the weekend's activities.

(From a U.S. Air Force news release.)

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