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Plan to rename Philly VA for Vietnam hero clears Congress

WASHINGTON – Philadelphia's Veterans Affairs medical center could be renamed for a Vietnam War Medal of Honor winner under a bill that cleared the House Monday and is headed to President Obama for his signature.

The House approved a bill to rename the center on Woodland Avenue the "Corporal Michael J. Crescenz Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center," honoring the only Philadelphian to win the Medal of Honor in Vietnam. Crescenz was 19 when he was killed while charging North Vietnamese machine gun bunkers.

The House passed the measure by a voice vote. The Senate last week passed the bill to rename the facility by unanimous consent.

"This honor is long overdue," said a news release from U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah (D., Pa.), who sponsored the House version of the bill. The other 17 members of the Pennsylvania House delegation all signed on as co-sponsors. "This is a fitting tribute for a revered son of Philadelphia and a declaration that his legacy and story will continue to live on."

Sen. Pat Toomey (R., Pa.) sponsored the Senate version, with Sen. Bob Casey (D., Pa.) as a co-sponsor.

"The name of Philly's own 'Michael Crescenz' deserves to be above the door at the Woodlawn Avenue Medical Center," Toomey said in a release last week when the Senate appoved his bill. "I realize this is a small gesture on our part, given the nature of his great actions. We do this with profound respect and deepest gratitude for his sacrifice."

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