Once a Year At 11 A.M This Memorial’s Hidden Beauty Is Revealed Thanks To The Sun’s Alignment

Anthem Veterans Memorial
Credit: Visit Arizona

The Anthem Veterans Memorial (AVM) in Anthem, Arizona is a monument that stands to honor the men and women in the armed forces who have served in the United States. But, this monument is special; it is actually “incomplete” for 364 days a year. While it remains in the same location year round, it can only be appreciated on a very specific day and time.

“At precisely 11:11 a.m. [PT] each Veterans Day (Nov. 11), the sun’s rays pass through the ellipses of the five Armed Services pillars to form a perfect solar spotlight over a mosaic of The Great Seal of the United States,” the city’s community council writes. The five pillars include the United States Air Force, the United States Army, the United States Marine Corps, the United States Navy, and the United States Coast Guard.  “The five pillars represent the unity of the five branches of the United States military serving steadfast together.”

“They are staggered in size with their appropriate military seal placements on each pillar based upon the Department of Defense prescribed precedence.”

Much thought and consideration went into creating the monument. It was not just the matter of ensuring its aesthetical appeal, but because of its particular feature, it was essential to showcase the seal only on Veteran’s Day.

“Each year, the center of the sun is slightly offset from other years by just a few horizontal or vertical arc-seconds relative to the timing of the required azimuth/altitude position of the sun,” AVM chief engineer Jim Martin explained. “Using the statistical mean of the 100-year data, the altitude and azimuth angles for the structure were adjusted to provide time/error fluctuation of plus or minus 12 time seconds from the International Atomic Time mark of 11:11:11 a.m. <…> we also checked the variance 500 years out, and if the structure is still standing, it will work.”

More info: onlineatanthem.com (h/t twistedsifter)

The AVM – Anthem Veterans Memorial – in Anthem, Arizona is “incomplete” 364 days a year.

Anthem Veterans Memorial
Visit Arizona

But, at 11:11 a.m. on November 11, each Veteran’s Day, the sun passes through the ellipses of pillars to illuminate The Great Seal.

Illumination Of The Great Seal
Mike Spinneli

The five pillars represent the unity of the five military branches of the United States serving together.

Representation of Five Pillars
Anthem Community Council

They are different in size because the pillars stand according to the military seal placements based upon the Department of Defense’s prescribed precedence.

Military seal placements
Anthem Community Council

A lot of thought went into building this monument.

Building of Anthem Veteran Memorial
Mike Spinelli

By using a 100-year statistical mean data, the azimuth and altitude angles were adjusted to provide a fluctuation of minus or plus 12 seconds.

Angles for AVM
Anthem Community Council

The variance was also checked for 500 years. If the structure is still standing, it will work.

500 years variance for AVM
Mike Spinelli

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