Valley Forge High School Vietnam Memorial will honor alumni who sacrificed
February 4, 2019
by M Powers
Valley Forge High School
On April 30, 1975, the Vietnam War ended and with it came great loss. People from all over the United States joined the fight, but many of those brave men and women were unable to come back.
Those who made the ultimate sacrifice should never be forgotten. That’s why, for the past two years, the Valley Forge History Club has been working on a special project to install a memorial to honor and remember 15 alumni who died during the Vietnam War.
“The level of commitment of the students has been both surprising and refreshing,” shared Amy Byrne, Valley Forge teacher and history club adviser. “The core group of students that initiated the project were freshmen when it began, and now they are juniors. Although they are much busier with vocational programs, jobs and other obligations, they are still equally committed to seeing this through to completion.”
There is currently a small memorial in the school for those who gave their lives in service to our country. However, students in the History Club thought they could do more to honor these brave alumni, which is how this project all started.
“Students have spent much of their time conducting research to find out as much as they can about the lives and service of the alumni to memorialized,” Byrne described. “They have also gained a tremendous amount of real world experience along the way. They had to market the project, plan fundraisers, participate in public relations events with community groups and veterans’ groups, and get a sense of what project development looks like from beginning to end.”
Determined to make this a meaningful addition to the school, students worked hard to collect donations and gained the community’s support. In total, the group has raised about $10,000 to place an outdoor memorial in front of the school by the flag pole.
“We could not have imagined how much support we would receive for this memorial,” Byrne expressed. “We all knew this project was important and long overdue. However, we didn't realize how important and meaningful this was going to be to so many. Several letters and emails have come in from alumni, veterans, community groups, and the friends and family of these young men. All share a different sentiment but each included messages of gratitude and encouragement for our work.”
The granite monument will be in three parts. The first part will list the names of those from Valley Forge who died defending our country. The second part depicts the emblems of each branch of the military. The third part is a quote from Clark Dugan, VF Class of ’67. It states, “The only tribute you could pay, and I can still pay, is to remember.”
The goal is to have the memorial finished and installed by May 2019.
There will be a celebration at the school once the memorial is fully installed. The school plans to invite American Legion members, Vietnam veterans, and families and friends of those who have passed.
PHOTO CAPTION: One of the planned Vietnam memorials for Valley Forge High School. The memorial will pay tribute to 15 Patriot alumni who perished during the Vietnam War while serving in the Armed Forces.