This Friday, Southwestern Pennsylvania World War II memorial will be unveiled on the North Shore. Larry Kirkland, the artist behind the project says it was a long time coming.
“The memorial has had four different locations and four different designs. It really has been a challenge. No one had any idea how complicated building something like this would be and we had no idea how to go about fundraising for it,” he says.
The memorial is meant to represent Pittsburgh's unique role in the war, "very quickly they shifted from making pickles to making airplanes" he explains.
“When we got started thinking about this many many years ago, as a design team, we really wanted to use materials that were associated with Pittsburgh, so we used stainless steel and glass. The glass panels are printed digitally with images what were going on at the time and iconic images from World War II such as the bombing of Paris, people in the concentration camps, and Pearl Harbor."
Pittsburgh native and World War II veteran Al Crawford, is excited that Southwestern Pennsylvania will finally have it’s own WWII memorial to remember those who died and those who served.
After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Crawford says he was compelled to join the Navy the following day.
“I was very angry at the report of loss of life and number of ships sunk. I was ready to go. I was in line bright and early the morning of December 8th, Monday morning and to my surprise there were hundreds of others down there too. Normally, recruiters enlisted probably three to five men each, each month and here were hundreds lined up that morning,” he says.
The unveiling of the WWII memorial will take place at the North Shore Riverfront Park on Friday, December 6th at 10am. More information can be found on their website www.swpawwii.org.