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Friday, June 12, 2015
Visitors to the Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall for the opening ceremony Thursday evening numbered in the hundreds. The wall will be stationed at Lockport Town Hall through Monday morning. (SCOTT LEFFLER / ENP STAFF)

By +Scott Leffler 
scott.leffler@eastniagarapost.com


More than 58,000 names adorn the 3/5 scale wall — just like on the original
version in Washington, D.C. (PHOTO CONTRIBUTED BY ELIZABETH
GRIMMER)
TOWN OF LOCKPORT ― The size of the "miniature" Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall was only outmatched by the size of the crowd visiting it for the opening ceremonies Thursday evening.

As the clock drew closer to 5 p.m., people milled around the front lawn of Lockport Town Hall. Some quietly talked with friends. Others silently stared at the American flag hoisted above. Many meandered down the length of the nearly 300-foot wall, gaping at the more than 58,000 names of those lost to the war.

Many had programs in their hand, listing the events planned for the wall's time in Lockport, as well as the names of the 79 Lockport-area service members who lost their lives during the war.

Rifles broke the near-silence at 5 o'clock, beginning the opening ceremonies for the wall's four-plus day visit to the Town of Lockport. Taps played and the town's flag was replaced with the POW/MIA flag.

The speakers were mostly somber — including Town Councilman Paul Siejak, former Niagara County Sheriff (and Vietnam veteran) Tom Beilein, and Town Supervisor Marc Smith and Mayor Anne McCaffrey, who jointly coined June 10 through June 15 as "Vietnam Veterans Memorial Week."

Friday, a ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. with a declaration of "Law Enforcement/Fire Fighters/1st Responders Day." Sheriff Jim Voutour will be the keynote speaker. Saturday is "Military Service/Civic Day" with Col. William Bryndle - USAF retired and state Sen. Rob Ortt offering the keynote speeches for the 10 a.m. ceremony. Sunday features a Flag Day ceremony put on by the Lockport Elks Lodge #41.

Niagara County Sheriff Jim Voutour salutes during the singing of the National Anthem Thursday at the Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall. (SCOTT LEFFLER / ENP STAFF)

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