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World War II memorial unveiling set for Veterans Day

| Saturday, July 6, 2013, 12:16 a.m.
Conor Ralph | Tribune-Review
Workers of Mascaro Construction set up a fence around newly poured concrete at the World War II Memorial on Friday, July 5, 2013, on North Shore Drive, near the Allegheny River. The new memorial is expected to be finished by Veterans Day.

Construction of the Southwestern Pennsylvania World War II Memorial on the North Shore should be complete by Veterans Day after about a decade of planning.

The area is fenced off, and on Friday, workers from Mascaro Construction were preparing the base of the memorial on North Shore Drive near the Allegheny River. Construction began on May 9.

“I can't be prouder of it,” said Robert Luffy, president of the board of directors of the World War II Veterans of Southwestern Pennsylvania Memorial Fund, the nonprofit group leading the project. “I understand the significance, and I know this means a lot to Southwest Pennsylvania.”

A Vietnam veteran, Luffy also was involved in putting together the nearby Vietnam Memorial.

The World War II memorial will include glass and granite panels that describe the war and the sacrifices of area veterans. Inside, panels will contain images from the Pacific and European campaigns.

The group plans to unveil the memorial on Nov. 11, Veterans Day, said John Vento, a member of the Memorial Fund's board and executive committee.

The group secured about $4 million to build the memorial through a mix of private and public funding. So far, it's raised about $300,000 for upkeep, about half of what's needed, committee member Sheila Conley said.

“We're continuing to ask for $5 and $10 donations from people, particularly people who have relatives that fought in World War II,” Conley said.

In the mid-2000s, Vento was approached by former Superior Court Judge John Brosky, a World War II vet who served in the South Pacific. Brosky asked Vento to help plan the memorial.

“I'm happy to be part of seeing it become a reality,” Vento said.

Luffy said he is glad to see the project close to completion.

“There have been hundreds of people working on this for the past 10 years or so, and they've done a fantastic job,” he said.

Staff intern David Paulk contributed to this report. Patrick Varine is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7845 or pvarine@tribweb.com.

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