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Makeover Opens Up Philadelphia’s Vietnam Vets Memorial

Veterans salute Vietnam Veterans Memorial (credit: KYW's Steve Tawa)

Veterans salute Vietnam Veterans Memorial (credit: KYW’s Steve Tawa)

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By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial is getting a makeover, 27 years after it was installed on Spruce Street, across from the Delaware River.

And the new design reflects how much public attitudes toward that war have changed.

The memorial’s centerpiece is a wall of 646 names but, originally, they could not be seen from the street.

Memorial fund Board president Terry Williamson says the enclosed design reflected the times, “it was a time when the sentiments toward vietnam veterans were just starting to change and it was designed to be a sanctuary where you could contemplate and reflect on the sacrifice.”

Now Williamson says, the concern is that the conflict will be forgotten so the redo will not only open up the wall but will contain educational elements like a kiosk with bios of the vets on the wall and a South Vietnam heritage monument.

We’re working with the Vietnamese community to build that, which will commemorate the sacrifice by both Vietnam and American soldiers,” Williamson says more fundraising is needed to realize the full vision but the renovation should be complete in time for Memorial Day.

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