The Official Voice of Vietnam Veterans of America, Inc. ®
An organization chartered by the U.S. Congress

August/September 2004
FEATURE ARTICLE
 
 

Twenty Years Ago:
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Buffalo

BY ASHLEIGH VIOLET WELCH

On Saturday, July 10, on the waterfront in Buffalo, N.Y., Vietnam veterans remembered and honored the past. It's been twenty years since the dedication of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the waterfront. The city of Buffalo had donated the property and Erie County had agreed to match the funds that were raised to make this dream a reality. When it was finally finished, 508 names were etched into the wall in the Naval and Serviceman's Park486 Western New Yorkers who were Killed in Action and 22 who are listed as POW/MIA.

The mood was reverent and inspiring on Saturday morning. The ceremony began with several speakers, including Coordinator of the Ex-POW Support Group Bob Young, VVA Region 2 Director Fred Elliott, Army Nurse Marilyn Edgerton, and VVA New York State Council President John Rowan.

Then, following tradition, friends and relatives read all 508 names.

One highlight of the event was Keynote Speaker Gary Beikirch, one of two Western New York Vietnam War Medal of Honor recipients. Beikirch was humble about being called a hero. Speaking of the soldiers whose names are on the memorial, he said: "Everything about you becomes small in the presence of these heroes who have given all. In the presence of true heroes, I am compelled to forget about myself."

   

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