Renewing the solemn memory
A war memorial has stood on the Abraham Lincoln High School campus since being dedicated back in 1951.
The former Mayfair Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1880 dedicated the monument in honor of all Americans who fought in prior wars.
The words on it read, “Dedicated by this community to all those who served their country so gallantly in all wars.”
At the time, the Korean War was ongoing.
The 12-ton monument remained in place for 60 years but needed to be moved with the demolition of the old Lincoln building.
The structure moved to its new home, along the Ryan Avenue portion of the campus, last November.
The 200-plus members of VFW Memorial Post 20, which is the oldest in Philadelphia, wanted to wait until Memorial Day weekend to rededicate the monument.
The big day came on May 27.
The monument is complemented by American flags, a Prisoner of War/Missing in Action flag, wreaths, a flag pole, stone and grass gardens and new concrete. It is about 100 yards from its former location.
Following the rededication, the monument now also honors all those who died in wars in Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Among those taking part in the ceremony were commander Joe Sokol, Ed Blizzard, John Lee, Walter Debes, Dan Phillips, John Wharten, Joe Buckley, Dave Bucher, Jay Ulitsky, Jules Bangert and Lou Margerum.
Members of Post 20, which is 106 years old, plan to engrave the date of the rededication on the monument. They will also add solar lighting so the American flag can fly at night.
The Post thanked the following people for their assistance: Lincoln principal Don Anticoli; Fred Raskay, construction coordinator for the School District of Philadelphia; Jason Jordan, president of JMJ Landscape Construction; and Tom Dooley, business agent for Operating Engineers Local 542.
VFW Memorial Post 20 is based at St. Stephen’s United Church of Christ, at 4201 Princeton Ave. in Tacony. Anyone interested in joining can call Walter Debes at 215-725-8456. ••