The Western New York Iraq/Afghanistan Memorial broke ground Tuesday.

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BUFFALO - Culminating years of planning and fundraising, the Western New York Iraq/Afghanistan Memorial broke ground Tuesday in advance of the official dedication in September.

Crews will begin digging on Wednesday. Within three to four weeks, they'll then lay foundation, at which point the granite can finally arrive on scene. The memorial will list the names of 71 military members from Western New York, all lost overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Dan Frontera, the chairman of the Western New York Iraq/Afghanistan Memorial Committee, said the idea for a monument originally began five years ago.

"I don't even know if I can explain how important it is," Frontera said. "To know, what we've gone through as a community, to lose 71 heroes, to know that we will be honoring them... to make sure their names are never forgotten."

The official dedication is set for Saturday, Sept. 13

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