Inaugural Delaware Vietnam Veterans Day pays tribute to John Wheeler

Three months after his still-unsolved murder, the late John P. Wheeler was honored on Delaware’s inaugural Vietnam Veterans Day for his contributions to his country and his lead role in establishing the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington. 

The ceremony at the Kent County Veterans Memorial Park in Dover included Wheeler’s widow, Katherine Klyce, as well as his sister Janet Wheeler of Columbus Ohio.

A brick inscribed with Wheeler’s name was unveiled and is now a permanent part of the plaza on South Little Creek Road.

Dover Mayor Carlton Carey presented Mrs. Klyce with a certificate of remembrance, while State Representative Bill Carson read a tribute from the State House of Representatives.

“It means a lot to us that people still appreciate what Jack did and acknowledge what he did, and how much he gave to his country,” Klyce said.

Wheeler, who lived in New Castle, was a Vietnam veteran and chaired the Vietnam Memorial Fund.  He served in the administrations of three U.S. presidents and was a consultant to a Pentagon official just prior to his death.

March 30th was declared Vietnam Veterans Day under a law passed by the General Assembly and signed by Governor Jack Markell in 2010. The withdrawal of U.S. Armed Forces from Vietnam was completed March 30th, 1973.

Wheeler’s body was discovered at Wilmington’s Cherry Island landfill the morning of December 31st, 2010.  The body had been left in a dumpster that was picked up in Newark.  Wheeler had been spotted the previous day in Wilmington. Security cameras captured him behaving erratically at a downtown office building and a parking garage.

Mrs. Klyce, when asked how everyone is holding up, said “there are good days and bad days.”

“It’s something that never goes away, ever,” she said.

A video about the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and a tribute to John Wheeler’s life and career can be seen at www.johnpwheeler.com

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