Pittsburgh WWII memorial to be dedicated on the North Shore

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People who attend Friday's dedication of the Southwestern Pennsylvania World War II Memorial will get to hear from three local men who fought in the war.

Speakers for the 10 a.m. ceremony include World War II veterans John Vento, Cody Gomberg and Howard Pfeifer.

Mr. Vento and Mr. Gomberg served in the Army and Mr. Pfeifer was in the Merchant Marine. All three are members of the volunteer board that raised money for the $4 million project. That amount includes funds for a $315,000 endowment for maintenance.

The region's newest memorial is on North Shore Drive between Heinz Field and the Del Monte Center on Pittsburgh's North Side.

The basic design includes translucent glass panels and 24 granite tablets held in place by stainless-steel spires. The monument will be illuminated at night. The panels will contain photographs showing life on the battlefield and at home during the war. One side of the memorial is dedicated to the war in Europe and the other side to the Pacific Theater.

The project was a joint effort of Washington, D.C.-based artist Larry Kirkland and architects from Denver-based Design Workshop. They teamed up more than a decade ago to win the design contract for the memorial. During that time, four different locations and four design concepts had been considered.

Mascaro Construction Co. was construction manager, overseeing work of eight subcontractors and fabricators.

Other speakers at the dedication will include Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese Bishop David Zubik, Temple Sinai's Rabbi James Gibson and the Rev. Harold T. Lewis, retired rector of Calvary Episcopal Church.

Students from Pittsburgh's CAPA school are scheduled to perform.

Free parking for those attending the event will be available Friday morning at the Stage AE lot across the street. Additional free parking will be offered in the nearby Rivers Casino garage. Free handicapped-accessible shuttle service will begin at 8:45 a.m. from the front entrance of the casino.

Saturday is the 72nd anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, which took the U.S.into the war.

Len Barcousky: lbarcousky@post-gazette.com or 724-772-0184.

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