PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- They're known as the Edison 64: the 64 former students of Edison High School who made the ultimate sacrifice in the Vietnam War.
Students, teachers, and veterans gathered Friday at the school in Philadelphia's Hunting Park section to pay tribute ahead of Memorial Day.
"I feel like it serves to remember those people who are no longer here, and also to celebrate them because they gave their lives for something way bigger than them," shared senior Joab Martinez, who helped serve as an emcee for the event.
The Edison 64 are an important part of the fabric of the school.
The original all-male Edison High at 8th and Lehigh experienced the most fatalities of all the high schools in the country during the Vietnam War.
"No other high school in this nation lost as many students. We make sure not a year goes by when we don't honor their sacrifice," said Dr. Darryl Johnson, a veteran who both attended and taught at Edison.
Each year, the school holds a special memorial ceremony, and this year's ceremony marks 50 years since the end of America's direct involvement in the Vietnam War.
"It's important, one, to carry on their legacy and honor those 64, and also for the school of Edison to continue their tradition," said teacher Don Meischke.
Organizers explain part of the education is for students to recognize the connections with these fallen heroes, who were around the same age when they left Philadelphia to serve.
"We want them to see themselves in the young men. If they were still alive, they'd be their grandfathers," said Johnson.
"That part of history is important to keep at the forefront for our students as they learn history and particularly the history in this community," explained principal Lillian Izzard.