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Medal of Honor Park, located at the intersection of M Street and East 1 Street is home to the South Boston Vietnam Memorial. It welcomes generations of South Boston residents to play, relax, and most importantly remember the community members who have served and made the ultimate sacrifice to protect not only their community but the nation. The South Boston Vietnam Memorial is the central focal point of the park, which memorializes and is dedicated to the South Boston Residents that died in Vietnam. Since its installation and dedication in 1981, the community has gathered thirty-seven times (in 2018) to rededicate and commemorate the twenty-five names etched in the stone. The names of twenty-five men are permanently etched into the black stone the South Boston Vietnam Memorial. Together, the park and memorial serve as an important remembrance of the young men of South Boston who served in the U.S. Army, Marines and Air Force and sacrificed their lives.


  • This wide-angle picture of the South Boston Vietnam Memorial shows the black memorial enclosed within a short gate and framed by the American, POW/MIA, and city of Boston flags.
  • Front side of the South Boston Vietnam Memorial displays the twenty-five names of the South Boston Residents that died in the Vietnam War.
  • The opposite side of the South Boston Vietnam Memorial is engraved with this inscription: "If You Forget My Death, Then I Died in Vain."

Medal of Honor Park, also known as the M Street Park or Independence Square, was first established in 1897 and reopened following a large construction project to improve infrastructure and play equipment in 2015. The layout of the park includes intersecting pathways in the shape of a star with the Vietnam Memorial at its heart. The South Boston Vietnam Memorial not only serves as an important reminder of the sacrifice of war, but to remember and honor the people who once called it home.

In the late 1970s, Thomas Lyons, South Boston resident, U.S. Marine, and well-known veteran advocate, imagined that a local memorial would be an honorable way to remember his childhood friends and other South Boston residents who died in Vietnam. The idea for the memorial came from his inspiration to honor Lyon's close childhood friends who all died in Vietnam in 1968. In 1978 Lyons organized a committee to fund the memorial for the twenty-five South Boston residents who died in Vietnam. Lyons, Thomas Irwin, executive director of Civic Progress,  Henry Carroll, U.S. Army Veteran, George Egan, active member of the American Legion, VFW and Semper Fidelis Society up until his death in 2013, and Jerry Turner, U.S. Army, planned and designed the memorial.  The community and the City of Boston worked together to raise $38,000 to erect the monument, designed by Harry Carroll.  The South Boston Vietnam Memorial was one of the first Vietnam memorials in the nation. Each September, St. Brigid's Church, a popular local parish, holds a memorial mass followed by a rededication ceremony at Medal of Honor Park. People and Veterans from around South Boston and across the U.S. come out to pay their respects to the fallen. 

Many young men from South Boston joined the armed forces right out of high school, much remained the same at the start of the Vietnam War. As a community with such a large commitment to service, the memorial stands as a reminder of their sacrifice and how a community can come together. Families of the fallen soldiers, marines, and airmen continue to gather at the memorial and attend the honorary masses year-after-year, proving that it will be a lasting fixture in the memories of South Boston families. The South Boston Vietnam Memorial displays names, branch of service, and the inscription: "If You Forget My Death, Then I Died in Vain," marking its significance as a physical community memory of those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Guerra, Cristela. Fallen Vietnam veterans are remembered at South Boston Memorial. The Boston Globe. Published Sep. 10, 2018. Accessed Nov. 3, 2018. https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2018/09/09/fallen-vietnam-veterans-are-remembered/zJJj6MLNcF353GhGPSw0yJ/story.html. 

Sallaska, Jordan. South Boston Vietnam Memorial. . Accessed Nov. 3, 2018. http://sbvnm.org/index2.htm.
 
Improvements to Medal of Honor Park. City of Boston. . Accessed Nov. 3 2018. https://www.boston.gov/departments/parks-and-recreation/improvements-medal-honor-park. 

Interview with Tom Lyons. Open Vault WGBH. . Accessed No. 3, 2018. http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_BD88E585D1624D11AD804A92320470D5.

Thomas J. Lyons. Hope For The Warriors. 12/09/2018. https://www.hopeforthewarriors.org/about/board-of-directors-councils/thomas-j-lyons/.

Irwin, Thomas J.. "Memorial Day 2014: If you forget my death, then I died in vain." St. Louis Post-Dispatch05/25/2014. .

MacPherson, Myra. "Taps in Southie." The Washington Post09/15/1981. 
"Vietnam Dead Honored in Boston Ceremony." The New York Times09/15/1981. 

"Vietnam Dead Honored in Boston Ceremony." The New York Times09/15/1981. 

George Egan. Legacy.com. 06/22/2013. . https://www.legacy.com/obituaries/bostonherald/obituary.aspx?n=george-egan&pid=165465857&fhid=5947. Also published in the Boston Herald.

South Boston Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Vietnam Veterans Home Page. . 12/09/2018. http://www.vietvet.org/massvets.htm.

Rocheleau, Matt. "Vietnam War vets return to South Boston for 30-year tribute." The Boston Globe09/19/2011. .