It was also 25 years ago this month that Philly native Dennis Best went on a six-day journey to get rubbings of the names of local soldiers from the national Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington.
A number of veterans walked from Philly to D.C. and back alongside Best, who lost both of his legs when he and other members of the Golf Company, 2nd Battallion, 5th Marines regiment hit a booby trap packed with explosives in An Hoa in 1970.
He made the trip to D.C. in his wheelchair, and had the rubbings buried at the site of Philly's memorial, at Front and Spruce streets.
Best, 61, said he made the journey - dubbed the "Last Patrol" - to raise awareness and money for Philly's memorial, which was then under construction.
(The memorial celebrates its 25th anniversary in October. Memorial Fund officials are still trying to raise money to redesign the partially enclosed site to make it more inviting to passers-by.)
"The solemness of what we were doing, and how important it was, that really stands out," said Best, who grew up in Levittown but now lives in Ocean City, N.J.
"We were bringing our brothers back home, and we wanted them to have a resting place in Philadelphia that they'd be quite proud of."
Best, who worked for several decades after the war as a rehabilitation specialist for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, will talk during Monday's service about various stories of sacrifice and courage.
The faces of the folks who attend the annual gathering have grown grayer and more wrinkled, while the number of parents of local Vietnam vets has grown ever smaller.
"A lot of our gold-star mothers [who lost sons in battle] are gone at this point, or they're way up there in age," Best said.
"The Vietnam vets are the same way. But those of us who are lucky enough to still be here have a duty to remember."
Contact David Gambacorta at 215-854-5994, gambacd@ phillynews.com or on Twitter @dgambacorta.