Friday, December 18, 2009


Pennsylvania, like a number of other states, seems to have no "official" memorial. Having said this, I have found that there are several spread throughout the state. This one, in Philadelphia, is just one of a number I hope to see. On my wish list are Pittsburgh, Red Lion and more.

The designer of the Philadelphia site said he hoped to honor the memory of those who had been killed in the war, as well as provide a place of contemplation for those who had returned. To do this, he created two facing walls- a curved one inscribed with the names of all killed in action, facing a straight one engraved with scenes from the war, beginning to end.

The two walls, which create an amphitheater like setting, are composed of polished gray granite, selected by the designer and quarried in Minnesota. The scenes, along with the names, were then sandblasted into the stones' surface.

The Name Panels
The southern wall containing all 647 names is concave and slightly raised in the center. It is placed on a slightly higher plane than the opposing north wall which is inscribed with the various scenes.

The Scenes Panel
Based on sketches by a Temple University graduate student, each of the eight scenes measures seven feet by five feet and is thirteen inches thick. They are arranged in chronological order from left to right and depict scenes beginning with aircraft launching from a carrier (1964) to the fall of Saigon in 1975.

In addition, there are the military insignias, a map of Vietnam and a world map inscribed at the site.

The memorial is located in the Penn's Landing area, at Front and Spruce Streets. This area has a number of memorials and monuments, including a very moving tribute to the Irish, who came to Pennsylvania and worked in the coalmines.

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