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Workers begin installation of Vietnam Wall panels

October 26, 2010 12:00AM

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Workers install one of the first granite panels of the Vietnam Memorial Wall in the PSU Veterans Memorial

W orke

"
Replacing the steel panels with granite is the right thing to do in order to honor the sacrifice of these brave soldiers properly. "
~ Brad Hodson, vice president of university advancement
rs today began installing the first of the 70 black granite panels that will make up the Vietnam Memorial Wall in PSU's Veterans Memorials. The massive panels, some weighing nearly 1,000 lbs., require special equipment to lift and maneuver into place, according to officials with Suhor Industries, the company in charge of the installation. (See related story)

While the first of the panels are going up, work continues at Boadie L. Anderson Quarries in Ada, Okla., where the panels are being engraved with specialized laser equipment. When finished, more than 58,000 names of soldiers who died in Vietnam will cover the panels. The lasers are working day and night to finish the project in time for dedication at a Veterans Day observance at 2 p.m. on Nov. 11.

The black granite wall is replacing a similar wall that has been a major component of the PSU Veterans Memorial since its construction in 2004. That wall, made of steel, was constructed by veteran John Devitt, and was one of three half-sized models of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.

The steel panels did not stand up well to the weather, however, and private donors stepped up to provide the $250,000 needed to replace the steel panels with black granite.

"Replacing the steel panels with granite is the right thing to do in order to honor the sacrifice of these brave soldiers properly," Vice President for University Advancement Brad Hodson. "Donors were enthusiastic about this project."

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