MEMORIAL DAY: ‘Edison 64’ Will Mean New Life for Today’s Vets

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A MEMORIAL Plaque now covers the once unmarked grave of Martha Kimball, in West Laurel Hill Cemetery. Kimball was a Civil War volunteer nurse and founder of Memorial Day. The project was completed with the help of Temple University ROTC nurses and historian Dr. Andy Waskie and wife. Photo by Joe Shay Stivala

Many write about Memorial Day and its meaning. Most who do remark on the sentiment of sacrifice; but it is often lost in the sand of the beach, smoke of the barbecue, and general activities that mark the start of the summer for most Americans.

Perhaps why we lose the true meaning is because we can never truly know the anguish of a Gold Star Family. Their sacrifice goes beyond the conceivable, so we briefly offer reflection and intentions during a holiday to pay tribute to those who have given all in service to our nation.

Here in Philadelphia, we’ve known the realities of war too well. During the Vietnam War, Edison High School experienced the loss of more student casualties than any other school in America – 64 in total.

Tomorrow, as we embark on Memorial Day weekend, the Veterans Multi-Service Center, a local nonprofit, aims to extend commemoration beyond the traditional holiday. It will host a small memorial service for veterans and announce that each student will be honored at the new permanent housing project to serve veterans in our community with comprehensive services.

The Edison 64 Veterans Community is more than affordable housing – it is a supportive and stable place to call home.

The project incorporates service-enriched programs and physical design that best serves a veteran population in transition. It allows for on-site services provided by VMC for the residents, including space for social interaction and communication. It is through this design of co-locating affordable housing, services, and communal space, where veterans will have the best opportunity to create successful, independent lives.

A TRIBUTE to veterans was held in the form of an information and resources fair. The Vetfest was held on Thomas Paine Plaza at MSB Building. There, a few veterans were honored and recognized for their service to their country and community. Our very own photojournalist, Leona Dixon, was honored by Councilman Kenyatta Johnson with a medal and a citation. The event featured food, live entertainment, suit giveaways and free haircuts.

The Edison Project is in its second phase of development at the original high-school site at 7th Street & Lehigh Avenue. (The current high school is located at 2nd Street & Luzerne Avenue.) The first phase was focused on commercial development, with the new construction of a shopping center that includes a full-service supermarket, convenience retail, community banking and restaurants.

Edison 64 Veterans Community completes the multiple-phase economic and community revitalization initiative, anchoring the commercial activity and repurposing of a vacant school building into 66 affordable-housing units.

The project will serve to connect our past, present and future for our veteran community.
All are welcome to join a small ceremony in tribute to this project and the memorialization of the brave young men at the VMC (213 N. 4th Street) in the Gold Star Mother’s Room tomorrow, May 25th at 10 a.m. to share in the true meaning of Memorial Day.

Debby Derricks is director of development at Veterans Multi-Service Center.

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One Response to MEMORIAL DAY: ‘Edison 64’ Will Mean New Life for Today’s Vets

  1. Does anyone know what happened to the
    THOMAS ALVA EDISON HIGH SCHOOL WAR MEMORIAL HONOR PLAQUE that was inside the school? Id hate to think it fell into the hands of the demolishing/salvage crew that was hired to take down the school.
    Tony R. Former student

    Tony R.
    August 16, 2018 at 7:47 am

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