CORFU, N.Y. (WIVB) – A traveling tribute, never before seen in Western New York, is now on display in Pembroke Town Park in the Village of Corfu, as a result of two years’ worth of work and fundraising by Oakfield-Alabama American Legion Post 626.
“Cost of Freedom” Wall will be in Genesee County through Sunday, June 15.
“We owe a great debt of service to each and every one of these men, no matter how they died. It wasn’t their choice; they just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. But the heroic this is, is that they were willing,” said Conrad Busch, a Civil War re-enactor who participated in ceremonies Thursday at the wall.
Stretching the length of almost two football fields, it bears the names of armed forces members from the Civil War through present day, police officers, firefighters and the victims of 9/11 – all of those whose daily lives put them in harm’s way, to protect and defend the American way of life.
Cost of Freedom Co-Chairman Richard Robinson said, “It’s just hard to say. It puts a lump in your throat, when you just start talking about it. We sat here this morning, and some of the old guys come out; they started walking around and was lookin’ at it, and you could see the emotion in their eyes.”
Emotion that overcame Charlene Boyce, who found the name of an old friend on the 80 percent replica of the Vietnam Wall.
“I didn’t think that I would react this hard today, seeing it. But it’s… It’s hard, to see it all over again. And it brings back the days when they brought him home,” he said.
It’s hoped the wall will raise awareness, respect and appreciation.
Fifth grade Pembroke student Mikayla Stone said, “It shows the men who really did pass away for our freedom, and they wanted that to be so important for us. And I think it’s a big part of today.”
“And there’s so many now, that want to continue to protect our country, and I’m just proud of everyone,” added Boyce.
The Cost of Freedom Wall is open for anyone to visit, 24 hours a day, until noon this Sunday. Each day, there is a program of special events at Pembroke Town Park to go along with it.