BUFFALO - On July 7, 1984, the day the Western New York Vietnam Veteran Memorial opened at the Naval Park, temperatures hovered in the upper forties. It was one of the coldest July days on record in the history of the city.
Jim Zucarelli, a Vietnam veteran himself, remembers that day fondly.
"My daughter was a year old," Zucarelli said, "We had her in a snowsuit."
Oh, how things have changed in three decades. At a re-dedication ceremony on Sunday to commemorate the 30-year anniversary of the monument, the weather cooperated this time, pleasing the crowd with a picture-perfect, sunny afternoon.
But the weather's not the only thing that changed over time.
During the Vietnam Era, there were no ceremonies like the one at the Naval Park on Sunday. There was no playing of the national anthem or standing ovations. No speeches about respect and love for our members of the military.