First National Vietnam Veterans Day Observed by Philadelphia
The City of Philadelphia will officially observe the first National Vietnam Veterans Day with a presentation of a resolution from City Council Thursday, March 29 at 2 PM to the Philadelphia Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund Board of Directors.
The presentation will be made during a ceremony by Councilman David Oh at the Memorial at Spruce Street and Columbus Boulevard. Other dignitaries expected to attend include Councilman Mark Squilla and former Pennsylvania Supreme Court Chief Justice Ron Castile, as well as leaders of veterans’ organizations. This will be the first ceremony since the President signed a law last March recognizing the day in honor of Vietnam Veterans. One of the co-sponsors of the bill was PA Sen. Pat Toomey.
To also mark the occasion will be the launch of a new book, "Edison 64," the story of the 64 attendees of Edison high school who were lost in the Vietnam war, the largest number of any high school in the nation. The book was written by local author Richard Sand, who interviewed over a two-year period many surviving veterans, former teachers and family members of those who died.
Sand is a noted historian and award-winning author of a dozen books. A college professor and practicing attorney, he was a member of The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission and was honored by The State Senate for his contribution to the arts. He also has been inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame.
“Edison 64 tells the story of a unique and haunting part of American history in which more soldiers were killed from one high school than any other,” Sand said. “It is about the men who came from North Philadelphia to sacrifice for their country in a way no others did.”
The books will be presented to Councilman Oh and Squilla, Justice Castille, one of the founders of the memorial and wounded Vietnam veteran, PVVMF President Terry Williamson and Darryrl Johnson, USAF veteran, Edison Alumni and retired Edison HS educator. Sand plans to donate a portion of the proceeds of the book to the Memorial Fund.
Vietnam Veterans Day has been recognized one way or another since 1973 on either March 29th or March 30th of each year, through a patchwork of state resolutions. However, in 2017, the official date was set as March 29th.