National Sites

Air Force Memorial

One Air Force Memorial Drive • Arlington, VA 22204

The Memorial is free and open to the public every day of the year except Christmas Day.
April 1st – September 30th: 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. except for special event evenings (Check event calendar for listings)
October 1st – March 31st: 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.

The United States Air Force Memorial honors the service and sacrifices of the men and women of the United States Air Force and its predecessor organizations, including the Aeronautical Division, U.S. Signal Corps; the Aviation Section, U.S. Signal Corps; the Division of Military Aeronautics, Secretary of War; the Army Air Service; the U.S. Army Air Corps; and the U.S. Army Air Forces. More than 54,000 Airmen have died in combat while serving in the Air Force and these historical service arms of the military.

Located on a promontory in Arlington, Virginia, overlooking the Pentagon and adjacent to Arlington Cemetery, the Air Force Memorial is easily seen on the skyline of Washington, D.C. and Northern Virginia in Arlington county.

The Air Force Memorial is rooted in the necessary symbolic transition of making the medium of the Air Force visible. The Navy has the medium of water, which can be shown in fountains. The Army has the medium of land, which can be referenced with mountains and plains. The Air Force has the medium of air, which is much more difficult to illustrate than water or land. The core of this effort lies in making air tangible and making technology felt. Before the Memorial could take shape, the critical component, the site, had to be analyzed for its informational and formational impact. In this case, the promontory overlooking Washington brings to bear the possibility of launching the Memorial through the edge condition it presents.

The Memorial itself is 270 feet high and appears to be soaring. Its array of arcs against the sky evokes a modern image of flight by jet and space vehicles. At the same time, it enshrines the past in permanent remembrance of the pioneers of flight who came before, and pays homage to those of the future.

Once the decision was made to incorporate vertical elements, the number three became important. “Three” is resonant with significant associations for the Air Force, including the three core values of today: Integrity first, Service before self, and Excellence in all we do. It is also the smallest number of elements needed to define and enclose a space. The spires are asymmetrical and dynamic. Each is a different height, causing the view of the Memorial to be different at every angle.

The Memorial is scaled for visibility over street infrastructure. Its height was determined to be at least equal to building heights visible on the Arlington horizon, from both near and distant views. The proportional relationship of the height of the spires to width of their base is intended to make the Memorial stand out as a marker for the I-395 entry to Washington. At the same time, care is taken not to diminish the view of the Nation’s Capital beyond.

A metallic, stainless steel surface forms the equilateral triangles that form the Memorial spires with the jointing details specifically minimized. Each spire is illuminated by its own light source. At the entrance from the west stands the Honor Guard, symbolizing patriotism and power. From here, the bluestone path moves north to the Glass Contemplation Wall, a glazed independent panel with meditative inscriptions. It symbolizes the presence of all of those who are gone. Halfway on the journey back and forth, one will find the heart of the Memorial – a triangular prow bounded by three spires. Standing within the soaring forms, one can see the Washington Monument.

James Ingo Freed • 15 September 2004

Arlington National Cemetery

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Open 365 days a year
April – September: 8 a.m. – 7 p.m. 
October – March: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Arlington National Cemetery is the final resting place for more than 400,000 active duty service members, veterans and their families. Service to country is the common thread that binds all who are remembered and honored at Arlington.

The Army National Military Cemeteries, consisting of Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia and Soldiers’ and Airmen’s Home National Cemetery in Washington, D.C., are under the jurisdiction of the Department of the Army. The Secretary of the Army consolidated authorities and created the Executive Director position to effectively and efficiently develop, operate, manage and administer the program.

Arlington National Cemetery conducts between 27 and 30 funeral services each week day and between 6 and 8 services on Saturday. The grounds of Arlington National Cemetery honor those who have served our nation by providing a sense of beauty and peace for our guests. The rolling green hills are dotted with trees that are hundreds of years in age and complement the gardens found throughout the 624 acres of the cemetery. This impressive landscape serves as a tribute to the service and sacrifice of every individual laid to rest within the hallowed grounds of Arlington National Cemetery.

The hallowed grounds of the Cemetery also hold the Arlington Memorial Amphitheater, The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and the Eternal Flame that burns beside the grave of President John Kennedy.

The National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial

North Rotary Road • Get Directions

Open 24 hours a day, Monday – Sunday.

The Pentagon Memorial is a place of solace and healing and a reminder to future generations to renew their faith in and commitment to the values that citizens of a free world share.

On September 11, 2001, terrorists hijacked a plane and flew it into the Pentagon, our nation’s military headquarters, and killed 184 federal employees, military personnel, civilians and flight crew. The victims – men, women, and children– ranged in age from three to seventy-one, and represented a cross-section of America. The physical damage to the Pentagon was rebuilt in less than one year, but the attacks forever changed our world.

To preserve the memories of those lost and the day’s tremendous significance in our nation’s history, the Pentagon Memorial Fund, Inc. was formed to raise the necessary funds to build a simple but meaningful memorial near the site of the attack for all to visit. The Pentagon Memorial Fund is also dedicated to developing educational resources and outreach opportunities to help visitors understand the historic significance of the site and the events that occurred on September 11, 2001.

In 2003, a large cross-section of corporations, countries and individuals – including family members of the victims, former presidents and first ladies, members of Congress, former military leaders, people from across America and the world – joined together in support of the Pentagon Memorial Fund.  With this united effort, the Pentagon Memorial was dedicated on September 11, 2008, the first of the three national 9/11 memorials to be dedicated in this country.

Since opening to the public, research has shown that there is a unique teachable moment at the Memorial to explain the events at the Pentagon on 9/11, the stories of the victims and heroes; the role of the Department of Defense and Pentagon; and how the United States and governments around the world are working together to prevent future attacks.   Based on this research, the Board of Directors decided to focus the organization’s efforts on designing and constructing the 9/11 Pentagon Visitor Education Center.

Freedmans Village Bridge

On Sept. 10, 2015 “Freedmans Village Bridge,” the replacement overpass for Washington Boulevard at Columbia Pike, was dedicated. The naming honor for the 19th century Arlington community of former slaves was approved by the state after a 2008 request from the County Board.

The new bridge incorporates medallion images of the village, which was established as a model community by federal military officials on the captured property of Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s Custis-Lee estate in 1863. The village, which included housing, schools, a hospital and vocational facilities, was intended to be a temporary stopping point for the former slaves to establish themselves before moving on. Yet the community lasted and even thrived until 1900 when, after decades of trying, the government closed the village, persuading residents to accept payment to leave. Many found homes in other Arlington neighborhoods such as Hall’s Hill and Nauck.

Although “Freedman’s Village” is now commonly spelled with an apostrophe, County preservation staff recommended that the bridge name not include the punctuation as a more accurate rendition of the name from when the community existed.