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Honoring veterans at the Protestant Home

Joe Crescenz
Audrey Alston sings America the Beautiful.
Cole Sonlin, Shane Lachawiec
Alyssa DiNezza
Rep. Jared Solomon

The Philadelphia Protestant Home last week hosted its annual Veterans Day celebration.

Residents who are veterans were treated to lunch, served by students at St. Cecilia. The students also presented them with homemade cards and a piece of an American flag with a note of gratitude.

The menu consisted of food from Mission BBQ, which also gave each veteran an American flag pin.

The celebration included prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance. Oldies and patriotic music played, and resident and veteran Audrey Alston sang the national anthem and America the Beautiful.

Southeastern Health Care at Home gave a gift bag to Alston, who often sings at PPH events.

The guest speaker was Joe Crescenz, brother of Army Cpl. Michael J. Crescenz, a 1966 Cardinal Dougherty graduate who earned the Medal of Honor for bravery in the Vietnam War.

“It’s a pretty big honor,” Joe Crescenz.

Joe Crescenz brought the medal, along with a medal citation signed by President Richard Nixon and a picture of Nixon presenting the medal to Charles and Mary Ann Crescenz, parents of the war hero.

Crescenz said he answered the door at the family home on a Saturday at 7 a.m. in 1968 when the military delivered the sad news that his brother had been killed.

Michael Crescenz is the only Vietnam War Medal of Honor recipient from Philadelphia. He received the nation’s highest military decoration for his efforts on Nov. 20, 1968. He charged a North Vietnamese bunker, killing a half-dozen enemy combatants and allowing his company to advance and ultimately win the battle. Crescenz was killed by gunfire from an unseen, camouflaged bunker.

“He just did what he had to do for his buddies,” said Joe Crescenz, who volunteers at the Veterans Affairs medical center in Coatesville

Also speaking were state Rep. Jared Solomon, a member of the Army Reserve, and John Dubyk, president of PPH. Bill Conaway, PPH’s director of community relations, was the emcee.

The St. Cecilia contingent consisted of teachers Kelly Roney and Kathy McDonough and students Alyssa DiNezza, Cole Sonlin, Shane Lachawiec, Emily Maciocha, London Lynch, Antonio Velez, Alex Kilpatrick and Cole Martyn.

Alyssa read an essay on How Could I Be a Good American. Cole Sonlin and Shane explained the significance of the POW/MIA remembrance table set for one. ••

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