The Philadelphia Vietnam Veterans Memorial is one of the city’s truly hidden treasures, representing a solemn and fitting testament to the sacrifices of 648 native sons. Located at Spruce and Columbus Blvd at Penn’s Landing, the Memorial is an amphitheater with walls of polished, charcoal grey granite from Minnesota.
Photos by Jim Huynh
The Wall of Names
Between both sides of the memorial are a series of four raised levels with granite ledges leading up to the south wall bearing the names of those whose “home of record” was Philadelphia. The south wall is a semi-circle containing the 648 names, slightly raised in the center on a higher plane than the opposite north side of the memorial.
Wall of Scenes
The north side of the Memorial, along Spruce Street, is composed of upright granite slabs formed into two facing semicircles. The 10 panels include reproductions of photographs from the war etched on the granite surface.
South Vietnamese Freedom and Heritage Flag Monument
Flying over the Monument on the south side of the Memorial grounds are the U.S. Flag and the flag of the former Republic of Vietnam. A granite marker in front honors the joint sacrifice of American and Army of the Republic of Vietnam forces, as well as the Vietnamese people, in the war waged against the communist forces of North Vietnam.
Cpl. Michael J. Cresencz Statue
The eight-foot bronze statue honors the only Philadelphian to receive the Medal of Honor for the Vietnam War.
Purple Heart Monument
The Monument honors all combat wounded who have received the Purple Heart Medal. It is one of two in Pennsylvania.
Funds are being raised to build the monument, honoring all Vietnam prisoners of war and missing in action, adjacent to the Cresencz statue.