The Anthem Veterans Memorial (AVM) in Anthem, Arizona, is a monument in honor of the service and sacrifice of the United States armed forces. It is, however, “incomplete” 364 days per year. To fully appreciate it, you have to be there at a very specific time. And sun.
“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 represent the unity of the five branches of the United States military serving steadfast together.” Those include the United States Marine Corps, the United States Navy, the United States Air Force and the United States Coast Guard. “They are staggered in size with their appropriate military seal placements on each pillar based upon the Department of Defense prescribed precedence.”
A lot of consideration went into building this monument. “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.”