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Western New York Iraq Afghanistan Memorial aims to heal pain from loss

Mike Desmond/WBFO News

While there are still American service members dying in Iraq and Afghanistan, supporters of the memorial on the waterfront are moving to improve the facility and care for those who fought and their families.

The committee running the memorial is preparing to add three names to the site, as part of the continuing attention to the stone walls and to the people who are affected by the wars and by the carved names, which reflect what can happen when men and women are sent off to war.

Dan Frontera is a committee member for the Western New York Iraq Afghanistan Memorial. Frontera says there is new lighting coming and more. The group is working with the Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park to pay attention to what visitors leave behind.

Credit Mike Desmond/WBFO News
Western New York Iraq Afghanistan Memorial

"Where we can take the locks of hair that have been left by a mom for her daughter, a hat, a coin, a unit patch, a note, a card for a little girl's dad. To take these things... they aren't lost... we want to archive them," says Frontera.

"We want to put them on display, not for the personal portion of it but to let families have that comfort in knowing my family members has been recognized. Somebody has been there to see them."

Frontera says this will be similar to the Vietnam Memorial in Arlington National Cemetery. The goal is to help people recover and heal from pain and loss.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.