Sharon Hill School students honored hometown hero Philip Wahl, a U.S. Marine, killed during the Vietnam War, at a Memorial Day assembly last week at the school.
Wahl, a star athlete who attended Sharon Hill Elementary and Sharon Hill High School, elected to join the Marines instead of accepting offers to play sports in college. After completing boot camp in February 1967, he was deployed to Vietnam. At age 20, Wahl was killed less than a year later on Nov. 9, 1967 in Quang Nam Province.
“Phil played football and wrestled here in Sharon Hill,” said Ed Frescoln, a retired Tredyffrin-Easttown School District teacher and Wahl’s former teammate, “and in Vietnam he made the ultimate sacrifice. This borough and school district did not forget Phil Wahl.”
Frescoln was referring to “Wahl Walk,” located in front and behind Sharon Hill Elementary School, which was dedicated in Wahl’s memory.
The assembly featured the singing of the National Anthem by Academy Park High School student Mark Davies, a Navy Seal cadet, who later in the program was honored for his accomplishments.
Sharon Hill Council President Scott MacNeil became emotional when speaking of his father’s service in World War II. McNeil said his dad, who served in the U.S. Navy, told him that soldiers went overseas to “do a job.”
“My dad said the true heroes were those who went here and never returned,” MacNeil said.
Sharon Hill Mayor Harry Dunfee told the students assembled he was a 10 year-old student when Wahl Walk was dedicated, adding that he has never forgotten the event.
Also on-hand for the ceremony was Marine Staff Sgt. Mark Baird and Lee Taliaferro, chief of staff for state Rep. Maria Donatucci (D-185). Taliaferro presented a proclamation on behalf of Donatucci.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, Sharon Hill Elementary School Principal Asia Ali-Hawkins asked for a moment of silence for Wahl and all members of the armed services who made the ultimate sacrifice.
“I hope this assembly has helped you to understand the sacrifices made for you,” said Ali-Hawkins, “and, that you leave here with more knowledge about the meaning of Memorial Day.”