|Posted:||February 17, 2021 07:36 AM|
|From:||Senator James R. Brewster|
|To:||All Senate members|
|Subject:||Recognizing The LaRosa Boys and Girls Club for dedicating the earliest known Vietnam War memorial|
|In the near future, I will introduce a resolution recognizing The LaRosa Boys and Girls Club in the City of McKeesport, Pennsylvania as having the earliest known U.S. monument to soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen who lost their lives in the Vietnam War.
The November 11, 1966 event was documented in The Daily News newspaper on November 12, 1966.
In 1966, after five former members of the McKeesport Boys Club were killed during a nine-month stretch of the war, a tablet was placed, by club founder Samuel LaRosa, outside the club with the names of the five fallen soldiers.
A bronze plaque and flagpole were unveiled by mothers of the five fallen soldiers. The plaque reads: “In memory of McKeesport Boys’ Club members who have made the supreme sacrifice in the service of their country.”
By March 1969, another six names were added to the memorial. In total, 11 LaRosa Club members were killed in a 40-month period and became known as the “LaRosa 11.”
Twenty-three names would come to be displayed on the tablet by the end of 1975. They are remembered as part of the “McKeesport 23.”
Of the “McKeesport 23,” 15 were in the Army, six in the Marines, one in the Navy, and one in the Air Force.
At least one member of each graduating class from 1964 to 1969 was killed in Vietnam. Overall, 882 western Pennsylvanian residents were killed in Vietnam.
The McKeesport Boys’ and Girls’ Club is now-named The LaRosa Boys and Girls Club, in honor of Sam R. LaRosa, who started the local organization in 1945.