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South Boston Online
South Boston Online
  Tuesday, March 3, 2015
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Vietnam Memorial at a Quarter Century
By Rick Winterson

     America’s first memorial to the war dead of Vietnam is 25 years old this fall.  It has kept the memory of South Boston’s fallen heroes alive for all those years.  From Friday, September 15, to Sunday September 17, a weekend of observances will mark the Anniversary.

     It is perhaps symbolic that the 25th Anniversary of the South Boston Vietnam Memorial will be observed on the last weekend of summer, just before the equinox brings in the fall season.  And a full weekend it will be.

     There is a Welcome Reception on Friday evening, September 15, at Anthony’s Pier 4, beginning at 6 p.m.  The reception recognizes and honors speakers who have participated in South Boston’s annual remembrance ceremonies at the Memorial since its dedication in 1981.  At least a dozen of them will return to South Boston that evening for the affair (see below for ticket contacts).

     On Saturday, everyone in South Boston is invited to gather at the Vietnam Memorial in Medal of Honor Park from 6 until 11 p.m.  Fireworks will cap off the evening.  There’ll be a tent open to attendees at a modest fee, with music by “The Echos”” and the Linehan Brothers, Billy and Richie.

     A Memorial Mass is planned for Sunday in St. Brigid’s Church at 10:30 a.m.  After that, the Vietnam Memorial will be formally rededicated in Medal of Honor Park.  Refreshments will follow.

     As you know, the Vietnam Memorial in Medal of Honor Park was the first memorial to those who died in that war.  It predated the memorial in Washington, D.C., by more than a decade.  It was designed and built during those years when recognizing military service in Vietnam wasn’t “politically correct”.  The Memorial became the focal point of the Medal of Honor Society meeting in 2001, which resulted in M Street Park being renamed “Medal of Honor Park”.

     The weekend from Friday, September 15, to Sunday, September 17, will be filled with emotions.  There will be sadness and sorrow at the loss of 25 of South Boston’s best.  It will also celebrate their memories, and the patriotic spirit that motivated them.  Most of all, it will be a time for remembrance as summer fades into fall.

     The South Boston Vietnam Committee consists of George Egan, Tom Lyons, and Jerry Turner.  For information and tickets, contact Claire Lyons (617-269-2454) or Shelly Procida (617-269-0231). 

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A quiet moment at the South Boston Vietnam Memorial

in Medal of Honor Park, as the Memorial's 25th Anniversary approaches.