For Memorial Crew, It's More Than Just a Job
"We almost lost everything here," Bizzell said.
David T. Tweedie, the project superintendent, began supervising construction in June after his predecessor, James R. McCloseky, died of an aneurysm. Tweedie said those who knew McCloseky have carried on the project, no matter the weather, partly as a tribute to him and partly as a tribute to the veterans.
"There's been many a day when guys could have packed up and gone home and said, 'We don't have to work in this,' " Tweedie said. "But they stuck it out."
Originally, the Battle Monuments Commission had hoped to have the construction completed last month. Because of a dedication ceremony scheduled for Memorial Day weekend that's expected to draw hundreds of thousands of people, there hasn't been a lot of leeway. But the memorial has taken shape, and most of what's left to be done is cosmetic.
Some of the workers say they think the overall impact of the project probably won't sink in until they move on to another job and revisit the completed memorial later.
"I haven't even had a chance to go around and read all the little quotes they have on this," said laborer Anita Hooker, referring to the inscriptions on the memorial's walls. "There's no time to do that on our 10- and 15-minute breaks."
But she has had time to meet a waterproofer who worked on the Rainbow Pool. They plan to get married in December. She's hoping they can have the ceremony at the memorial, in front of one of the waterfalls.
"It's special, knowing our hands have been part of having this built," she said.
© 2004 The Washington Post Company