The Memorial is dedicated to all Sky Soldiers who have served or will serve in the 173d Airborne Brigade. It stands as a tribute to those Sky Soldiers who fell in combat while answering our nation’s call. It is equally dedicated, with unwavering gratitude, to those Sky Soldier families who suffered and sacrificed so much in our nation’s efforts to preserve freedom. It also recognizes our allies who fell at our side while serving with uncommon valor.
Its purpose is twofold: to serve as a place of reflection and remembrance of those taken from us, and to recognize the legacy and achievements of this extraordinary Brigade. It is placed on this sacred site in view of the National Infantry Museum, which tell the story of generations of American infantrymen, what they did and how they did it.
Tens of thousands of visitors who attend graduations and other ceremonies every year for the Infantry, Airborne, Ranger, Armor, and Officer Candidate Schools learn of the Brigade, its standard of military excellence, and how it has so gallantly served the nation.
The powerful design of the Memorial is intended to encompass the significance of being a Sky Soldier. It is built on a circle of sacred ground with the Brigade’s iconic symbol, the “Wing and Bayonet”, dramatically rising toward the sky in the center. The Memorial platform stands above the ground to symbolize its prominence. It is divided into radial segments of alternating colors to represent the panels of a parachute. It is round, in recognition of a soldier’s bond that has no beginning and no end. It includes stainless steel to represent a Sky Soldier’s strength and resilience. Black granite was chosen to symbolize a dark universe, with the names inscribed upon it as beacons of light. The Memorial features five separate vertical panels that represent the five points of the American and US Army Star.
The names inscribed on the panels are without rank and stature to recognize that each of the fallen are of equal value. There are trees, plants and flowers surrounding the Memorial symbolizing life and hope for mankind’s future.
Lastly, the magnificent Stainless Steel sculpture in the center of the Memorial is the identifying symbol of the 173d Airborne Brigade. It is placed on a high column to symbolize that this unit rises above all others. The sculpture includes a globe of the earth to represent that the Brigade stands ready to defend freedom in any part of the world.
The Memorial stands proudly at the head of Walk of Honor at the National Infantry Museum in Columbus, GA.