Niagara Gazette — Aerialist Nik Wallenda now has a permanent place of honor on Goat Island in Niagara Falls State Park.
Local officials joined Wallenda in a ceremony Monday near Terrapin Point where they unveiled a new monument commemorating his June 2012 high-wire walk across Niagara Falls.
The monument, consisting of a boulder from the Niagara River Gorge, includes an affixed commemorative plaque as well as a section of the actual wire used by Wallenda to traverse the mighty falls. The monument is located near the point where Wallenda stepped off on his now famous journey, which was broadcast worldwide.
"It really is surreal," Wallenda told a crowd of family members, supporters and onlookers after the tarp was lifted to reveal the monument recognizing his feat.
State Sen. George Maziarz, R-Newfane, who was an advocate for Wallenda's walk and who was on hand for Monday's ceremony, said the monument ensures the aerialist's legacy will live on long after those who saw his performance are gone.
"Nik’s walk over the falls should be remembered by all generations as a feat of daring, skill, and hope,” Maziarz said.
State Assemblyman John Ceretto, R-Lewiston, another supporter of the walk, characterized Wallenda's feat as "awe-inspiring," suggesting it helped put "Niagara Falls back on the map as a preeminent tourist destination.
“This monument is not only a testament to his courage and dedication to his craft—but it sends a message that like Nik, we, too, are committed to achieving our goals of revitalizing our local tourist industry,” Ceretto said.
Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster also welcomed Wallenda and his family back to the city, saying Wallenda's historic 2012 walk will "live on in the hearts of our residents for many years.
"This monument is a fitting tribute to that memorable day,” Dyster said.
The Niagara Gazette will feature more information about the commemoration in its electronic edition available Tuesday at www.niagara-gazette.com.