SOUTH SIOUX CITY, Neb. (AP) — The dedication of a replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall drew hundreds of people to Freedom Park in South Sioux City on Wednesday.
The half-scale replica of the wall bears the names of more than 58,000 U.S. service members killed in the Vietnam War, the Sioux City Journal reported.
The 250-foot black granite wall is the only replica that duplicates the original design in Washington, D.C., the Journal said. The granite for it came from the same quarry in India as that used for the original memorial.
The wall's completion opens the first phase of the $4 million, 55-acre park, dedicated to those who have served and died for their country. Organizers hope to break ground this summer on a 12,000-square-foot interpretive center.
The granite panels of the wall were escorted to Siouxland Freedom Park by American Legion Riders earlier this month. Since then, veterans have made a pilgrimage to the still unfinished park.
Wayne Luber, a Vietnam War veteran from South Sioux City, said viewing the memorial is very emotional.
"I got some friends on the wall," he said. "But it's the best thing it could be. (The park) is really going to be great when they get the whole thing completed."
Wally Ulrich of Hartington, Nebraska, who served a year in Vietnam, said the Freedom Park replica evokes the same sentiments as the original memorial.
"You don't forget that," he said. "I have seen the one in Washington, D.C., but now we are looking at it in our own backyard. It's wonderful."
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