Positively Philadelphia: At Patrick Ward Park, veterans come to reflect and remember

Lauren Lipton
May 26, 2019 - 4:00 am
World War II vets James Forziati, left, and George Fuller, center, chat in Patrick Ward Park, at 24th and Aspen, in Fairmount. The park was created in honor of all US military veterans.

Lauren Lipton/KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — On this long Memorial Day weekend, we pay tribute to our many area military veterans. And there are veterans who over the years have visited this small park every day to reflect and remember. 

“Our whole neighborhood got drafted back in ’66,” recalled Joe Ferry, who fought in Vietnam. “Everybody went, so it was sort of like your duty to go. The country needed you.”

Joe Kelly was in the Korean War, and Harry Wills was in World War II. They are among the many who over the years have visited Patrick Ward Park, a small memorial park in the Fairmount section of the city.

The park, the size of a room in an average house, sits on 24th Street at Aspen Street. What was once a vacant lot now serves as a meeting place for veterans to talk, see their friends, and remember.

“At that time, you didn’t know what was going to happen,” recalled one veteran. “It was turmoil in the world. They told you to go here, they told you to go there, and you did it.”

“Everybody’s been in tight spots, everybody’s been scared, and that’s what war’s about, you know, being scared and overcoming it,” said another veteran.

The park is named for Patrick Ward, who lived in Philadelphia and died in Vietnam, but pays tribute to all the men and women who gave their todays for our tomorrows.