Remembering the 'McKeesport 23'

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: Announcements, Podcast

McKeesport has one of the earliest known U.S. monuments to soldiers, sailors and marines who died in the Vietnam War.

In 1966, following the deaths in Vietnam of four former members of what was then known as the McKeesport Boys Club, club founder Samuel LaRosa decided that those serving in Vietnam needed to be remembered. He erected a tablet outside the club with the names of the four fallen.

Before the end of the war in 1975, the names of 23 young men from McKeesport would be displayed on LaRosa's tablet.

Walt Yager, a longtime member and volunteer at what is now known as the LaRosa Boys and Girls Club, says he believes it was the first Vietnam memorial erected in the United States.

The "McKeesport 23" will be remembered with a tribute at 2 p.m. Nov. 14 at the McKeesport Regional History & Heritage Center in Renziehausen Park.

The event is open to the public, but organizers are especially hoping that families and friends of the 23 can attend, along with others who served in Vietnam.

This week on "Two Rivers, 30 Minutes," we talked to two of the organizers, Yager and retired White Oak police Chief Joe Hoffman, about why they think so many men from the Mon Valley served, and what the Nov. 14 tribute symbolizes.

"Two Rivers, 30 Minutes" airs at 8:30 a.m. Fridays on WEDO (810), 8 a.m. Sundays on WZUM (1550), and at 3 p.m. Sundays on WMCK.FM.

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ADVERTISEMENT: Support for "Two Rivers, 30 Minutes" comes in part from the McKeesport Hospital Foundation. Since 1976, the foundation has addressed key concerns that affect our good health, as well as our education, social needs, recreation, and safety and security. The foundation partners with UPMC McKeesport and other agencies to eliminate barriers to all services for all residents of the Mon Valley. Visit www.mckhospitalfoundation.com, or call (412) 664-2590.

Originally published November 07, 2015.

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