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Oklahoma company inscribes Vietnam Wall

October 26, 2010 12:00AM

John and Boadie Anderson prepare the first of the Vietnam Wall panels for shipment in their factory in Ada, Okla.

I n le

So many names. It's when you see them all together that it really gets to you. "
~ Judy Anderson
tters just one-quarter of an inch high, a laser methodically etches the names of American soldiers who died in Vietnam into massive slabs of jet-black granite. Hour after hour, the laser works - an almost silent mechanical tribute to the ultimate sacrifice of more than 58,000 soldiers and their families.

"So many names," muses Judy Anderson. "It's when you see them all together that it really gets to you."

At Boadie L Anderson Quarries, Inc., in Ada, Okla., the lasers are running day and night, inscribing the panels for the Vietnam Memorial Wall that is being installed in the Pittsburg State University Veterans Memorial. Workers on Tuesday, Oct. 26, began installing the first of the black granite panels are replacing the steel ones that have been a centerpiece of the memorial since its construction in 2004. The granite wall and more than 20 new pavers honoring veterans will be dedicated at a special Veterans Day observance at 2 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 11.

Judy Anderson is likely to answer the phone when you call Boadie L Anderson Quarries, a family business that was founded by her father-in-law in 1968. Her husband, Ed, is the CEO and sons Boadie and John manage different aspects of the business.

She said it is both an honor and a big responsibility for the company to be given the task of engraving the panes for the PSU Memorial.

"We've done a lot of memorials and some pretty special memorials for veterans," she said, "but this is probably the largest."

Boadie Anderson, who is 38, said working on the Vietnam Memorial Wall has heightened his own awareness of the importance the Vietnam War in our history.

"Most people my age don't have an appreciation for it," Boadie Anderson said. "The last couple of years, there seems to have been more attention to the sacrifice of the Vietnam era veterans. It feels good to be a part of that."

Mike Forbes, the regional manager for SI Memorials, the company responsible for the project, said the sheer size of the work is impressive. The wall is made up of 70 black granite panels of varying sizes with the largest weighing nearly 1,000 lbs.

Forbes said Suhor Industries originally considered inscribing the panels at its Parsons, Kan., facility, but chose instead to have the work done at Anderson Quarries because of the large lasers at that facility.

Forbes said the project is extra special to him because both he and his wife, Jennifer, are PSU alumni. Mike earned a BBA from PSU in 1988 and Jennifer a BBA in 1990. They live in Parsons.

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