On a day when we honor and say thank you to our nation’s veterans, the Kent County chapter of Delaware’s Vietnam Veterans of America chose to honor one of their own.
In front of the Vietnam Memorial in Dover, veterans honored Marine Lt. Larry Potts, who was posthumously promoted to Captain. Potts grew up in Smyrna, joined the Marines after graduating from Delaware State University and served in Vietnam.
About a dozen family members attended the Veterans Day ceremony, including Potts’ namesake — his nephew.
“I had never met my uncle, so everybody that came up to me told me stories about him,” said Larry Fletcher Potts.
Stories about his bravery and his missions, including his final one. Potts was shot down while on a mission to rescue a downed Air Force pilot; a mission that served as the premise for the 1988 movie, Bat*21. Potts remains unaccounted for, however, reports indicate the Capt. was captured and died in Quang Binh Prison.
“That’s all I have of him, just memories,” said Potts. “And so it’s kinda hard to live up to a name like that, expectations. I’ve been trying.”
Delaware Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del) spoke during Friday’s ceremony. A retired captain in the U.S. Navy, Carper served three tours of duty in Southeast Asia.
“One of the ways we thank our veterans, just to walk up to ’em when we see ’em. If they got a hat on that says ‘Vietnam Vet,’ we say ‘Welcome home,’ and if they’re Korean veteran I always say, ‘My Uncle Ed was a veteran in Korea.’ They happen to be World War II, whatever, but just to say, ‘Thank you for your service.'”
And on this day when the nation expresses its gratitude, Sen. Carper addressed recent reports that remains from some of America’s war dead were mishandled at Dover Air Force Base.
“I want to make sure, I know Sen. Coons, Congressman Carney want to make sure, that we strictly adhere to, faithfully adhere to the Golden Rule with respect to the way we treat the families of these four fallen heroes. That we treat those families, their family members, the way that we would want to be treated,” said Sen. Carper. “We’re gonna stay on top of this, we’re gonna keep working on it. And as the Dover Air Force Base has been nominated three times, the base, three times in the last four years — best Air Force Base in the world — we applaud them, we love them and we love you too. Happy Veterans Day!”
The ceremony concluded with the reading of the names of Kent County servicemen who died in Vietnam and in Korea.