Tuesday, February 5, 2008


Adam Larson / Caustic Logic
The Frustrating Fraud
February 4 2008 3am

Looking at the testimony of Sgt. Chadwick Brooks as presented in The PentaCon, I found this sideline that, the more I look, gets more and more interesting. When asked where the plane he saw came in from, the Defense Protective Services officer pointed back to some trees and an oddly looming three-pronged structure in the near distance behind them. This curious form is seen above relative to the Citgo’s north canopy, with Brooks seeming to wear it like a crown and Lagasse looking back towards it almost as if noticing it for the first time and wondering ‘what is that thing?’ That’s what I was thinking anyway. It could serve almost no practical purpose, and looked like a work of art or monument of some sort, and right next to Arlington National Cemetery. So I dug in and found matching images for “memorial” + “Arlington” + “three spires.”

I quickly found that it was a recently-completed memorial to Air Force airmen who have died in the service of their country. MSNBC ran an Associated Press article about its dedication on October 14 2006 (less than a month prior to the Lagasse-Brooks interview). Just south of the cemetery, on a hill overlooking the Pentagon’s west side, roughly 30,000 people attended and listened to the keynote address by President Bush:

"Under these magnificent spires, we pay tribute to the men and women of the Air Force who stand ready to give all to their country. And looking from this promontory to a place once filled with smoke and flames, we remember why we need them." [1] [Youtube video of dedication ceremony]

A squadron of Thunderbirds then buzzed the area, executing the famous “bomb burst’ maneuver the memorial was meant to evoke. Usually done with four jets, the monument’s three upward arcs are based on the “missing man formation” traditionally flown at Air Force funerals. The first official ceremony was held the next day when the Secretary of the Air Force laid a memorial wreath at the base of the spires, capping the completion of a 30 million dollar, fifteen-year struggle to get them erected. [2]

The Air Force Memorial Foundation (AFMF) was formed and given 501(c)(3) status in 1992 to pursue a memorial, led by a five-man advisory committee including Ross Perot Jr. [2] The foundation was mostly funded by private contributions; Wayne Madsen wrote about how the project was funded “largely […] with donations from Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, United Technologies, and even the United Arab Emirates Air Force.” [3] The original plan was to place the memorial at Arlington Ridge, near the Marines’ Iwo Jima memorial, but all through the 1990s the AFMF remained locked in extended legal battles with the Marine Corps over this plan. In October 2000 President Clinton signed legislation to give them more time, and the DoD offered an alternate site at the east end of the Navy Annex, near the intersection of Columbia Pike and South Joyce Street. This offered the foundation a way around more costly litigation and the opposition of Congressional ex-Marines, but planning for the Arlington Ridge location continued.

The board members were still weighing their options when the 9/11 attacks occurred, including a near fly-by [see below] of the alternate site by Flight 77 on its way into the Pentagon. Some time in October 2001, the AMFM chronology states, the board of directors “acknowledges realization for relocation” to the Annex grounds. Over the next two months as the nation dealt with Afghans and Anthrax, Congress worked to include the site change as a rider on the 2002 Defense Authorization Bill, which President Bush signed on December 28, officially giving the Foundation up to three acres of the Naval Annex property on which to build. [2]

In 2002 the AFMF gathered its funds, solidified the site, and selected Pei Cobb Freed & Partners to design the memorial. It would be the final project for architect James Freed, previously responsible for the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. [4] In 2003 they got the paperwork lined up; in February the FAA decided the giant arcs would not be a "hazard to air navigation."” [2] Formal groundbreaking of the site was held in September 2004, foundation work done in 2005, and construction of the spires began in February 2006. On September 22 the last of fifteen spire segments was installed and the monument essentially completed, three weeks before the dedication ceremonies. [2]

Not everyone is a fan; Wayne Madsen wrote of how the monument sits “jutting into the sky and dominating the Washington, Dc skyline […] reminiscent of something Nikita Khrushchev would have built honoring the Soviet space program in a Soviet Potemkin city.” [3]

I’m not sure yet of the relevance of this memorial to my study of the Pentagon attack and those studying it, but a few oddities are at least worthy of note:
First, obviously, is its location; Madsen noted the spires jut out of a spot “right on the Pentagon crash flight path.” Can this be pure coincidence? It must be, most would think, since the site was selected a year before 9/11. And it’s not exactly on the path anyway; to be more precise, it’s placed along the line of a right-over-the-Citgo-flight path, between the CIT-crafted North path and the official one on which tons of damage happened five years before the spires went up, one year after the site was offered, and a few weeks before it was accepted.

Looking across the Annex from the west, I’m reminded of Edward Paik’s drawn flight paths that, oddly enough, point almost right to the monument, which was being assembled at the time he drew them.
Seen from this view it seems almost like a giant pitchfork they wish had been there to stop the plane that day, a symbolic retroactive warding-off of evil spirits. It is placed just a bit too far to the north, but even if they had truly meant to mark the very spot (presumably a post-9/11 decision to shift it a bit), this is the closest they could get without tearing out the curve of Columbia Pike. Even the most dedicated symbolism must sometimes yield to necessity.

A second oddity that stands out to me is its height – the highest of the three spires rises 270 feet above “the 3-acre elevated promontory site.” [2] This number sticks to me because of the radar altimeter reading in the last recorded frame of Flight 77’s FDR; 273 feet above ground level. This was probably not recorded adjacent to the memorial site, but rather a ways back. Nonetheless, it almost seems someone was trying to place those spears right at the belly of that plane if it should ever come back and try the same thing. However, it seems by looking at a few photos that the tallest spike is pointing northwest, which is not where the FDR shows it coming from, and it becomes clear I’m probably just reading too much into this.

Thirdly, the timing of its construction with CIT’s 2006 research trips means there was a brand new, gaudy, overwhelming structure being built right in the zone people were remembering their flight paths from. With the monument often cited as being ‘right on the flight path,’ it can’t be ruled out that it could have inserted some distortion into their recollections of where the flight path was.

Finally, I’m astonished that I’m just now learning about this. I may’ve heard a mention here or there, but had never been specifically aware of this mammoth trident amongst the contended flight paths. For one thing, it’s not shown in the supposedly current satellite views at Google Maps I’ve been looking at regularly for the last year and a half (hence the graphic I made, above). So now I’m aware of it and up-to-date, and would like to close on a poignant note speaking back to the subject of memorials to those who’ve given their all for whatever they’re calling ‘freedom’ these days, Wikipedia’s entry notes: “Although the current [memorial] design is somewhat overshadowed by the Navy Annex at Fort Myer, that facility is slated for demolition by 2010 with the site to be used for the southward expansion of Arlington National Cemetery.” [4]

[1] Long-awaited Air Force Memorial dedicated
Arlington monument honors the memory of those fallen in youngest service. Associated Press. updated 8:12 p.m. ET, Sat., Oct. 14, 2006 http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15264524/
[2] http://www.airforcememorial.org/memorial/chronology.asp
[3] http://www.disgrunt.com/blog/2006/12/05/weird-horns-statue-dominates-washington-skyline/
[4] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Air_Force_Memorial

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