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Crowd greets bridge-lighting ceremony with cheers of joy

January
31, 2005. Daily Breeze

http://www.dailybreeze.com/news/articles/1213237.html

 

An estimated 700 to 800 people show up to celebrate the long-awaited lighting of the Vincent Thomas Bridge in San Pedro.

 

With a burst of fireworks, applause and cheers, 160 bright blue lights flashed forth from atop San Pedro's Vincent Thomas Bridge at sunset Sunday, culminating a 17-year-long community effort.

Initial reviews were enthusiastic. "I love the color," said Raul Brown, a former San Pedro resident who drove in from Orange County to watch the bridge lighting from Knoll Hill.

"I can just imagine San Francisco is going to be jealous of us."

The moment was an emotional one for another woman who donated more than $100 in memory of her late husband, Frank Noli, a laborer who helped build the bridge in the early 1960s

Fireworks signal the lighting of the Vincent Thomas Bridge Sunday after a 17-year effort.

 

"They're beautiful," she said of the lights. "He would love it."

An estimated 700 to 800 people turned out for the much anticipated ceremonial lighting on the Port of Los Angeles Cruise Ship Promenade, the waterfront boardwalk just below the bridge.

Most had waited years for the moment. "I've donated dollars, pennies and quarters," said Sergio Espinoza who came with his wife, Myrna, and their two children Marcus, 11, and Julia, 3.

"It's absolutely 100 percent worth it," he said after seeing the lights go on. "It was worth the wait."

Just as the LED lights were turned on for the first time

The San Pedro Bay Historical Society was on hand to pass out books about the bridge. Bridge lighting committee members distributed hats and other memorabilia that had been sold as fund-raisers since the bridge lighting effort began in 1988.

Many in the crowd came with family members and cameras to capture the moment.

"This is such a historic day here in San Pedro and really in all of Los Angeles," said Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn, wearing a bright blue blazer in honor of the lights.

"After years and years of frustrating hard work, we are finally going to light the gateway into Los Angeles."

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