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McKeesport 23 Monument to Be Rededicated

By Jason Togyer
The Tube City Almanac
March 28, 2023
Posted in: Announcements

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story was corrected after publication to clarify that the move was made at no cost to the McKeesport 23 committee.*

A monument that honors 23 McKeesport-area veterans who lost their lives during the Vietnam War has been relocated from the campus of McKeesport Area High School to a more accessible location.

Organizers are planning a re-dedication at 3 p.m. May 13 when the monument is unveiled outside the McKeesport Regional History & Heritage Center in Renziehausen Park.

An indoor reception will follow the outdoor celebration.

Joe Hoffman, a member of the McKeesport 23 committee, says the monument was originally placed in the high school courtyard because most of the veterans honored were McKeesport Area High School graduates.

But over the years, access to the monument has been restricted due to safety concerns about allowing visitors onto the campus, he says. The monument also hasn’t been accessible during weekends or school holidays.

Following conversations with city and school district officials, Hoffman says, the decision was made to relocate the monument to a more public location.

He praised what he called the “tremendous cooperation” the committee received from McKeesport Mayor Mike Cherepko; City Administrator Tom Maglicco; and Sue Ann Striffler, owner of Design Monuments, which originally designed and erected the memorial.

Thanks to the city, the school district and Striffler, the move to the Heritage Center grounds has been done at no cost to the McKeesport 23 project or the Vietnam veterans involved,* Hoffman says. “We could not have done it without them,” he says. “They made it happen.”

The McKeesport 23 project was launched after volunteers began researching a Vietnam War memorial at the LaRosa Boys & Girls Club, now the LaRosa Youth Club. The memorial, recognizing 11 McKeesport residents who died in the Vietnam War, was believed to be the first Vietnam veterans’ monument in the United States.

Additional research revealed that in all, 23 veterans from McKeesport died in Vietnam.

“During the original dedication on May 17, 2017, we had more than 1,000 people who came to McKeesport High School,” Hoffman says, adding that organizers are hoping for a similarly large turnout on May 13.

Originally published March 28, 2023.

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