Architect of Philadelphia’s Vietnam memorial talks about why he served and why he protested

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 Terry Williamson, president of the Philadelphia Vietnam War Veterans Memorial Fund. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

Terry Williamson, president of the Philadelphia Vietnam War Veterans Memorial Fund. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

This story is part of a WHYY series examining how the United States, four decades later, is still processing the Vietnam War. To learn more about the topic, watch Ken Burns and Lynn Novicks’ 10-part documentary “The Vietnam War” running Sunday, Sept. 17 at 8 p.m. through Thursday, Sept. 28 on WHYY-TV. 

There’s a ceremony tonight along the polished granite walls of the Philadelphia Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Spruce Street and Columbus Boulevard.
It’s been 30 years since the monument’s inception. It bears the names of 648 native sons killed in the war that spanned two decades and ripped this country apart philosophically, politically, and emotionally before ending with the fall of Saigon in 1975.

vietnam memorialVietnam Veterans Memorial at Foglietta Plaza. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

 

Terry Williamson served as a U.S. Marine against the North Vietnamese in the late 1960s; he was discharged as a captain. Then he protested the war and later helped lead the effort to build Philadelphia’s Vietnam memorial. He now aids in its oversight.

 

Morning Edition host Jennifer Lynn spoke with Williamson recently about the memorial and what it was like when he returned to the states during at the height of the anti-war movement in the early 70s.
To learn more, watch Ken Burns and Lynn Novicks’ 10-part documentary “The Vietnam War” running Sunday, Sept. 17 at 8 p.m. through Thursday, Sept. 28 on WHYY-TV. WHYY Members will have extended on-demand access to the series via WHYY Passport through the end of 2017.

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